Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga is a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of New Mexico, where she studies American politics, race, ethnicity and politics, political communication, and public policy. She is a Health Policy Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Social Policy and a Research Project Fellow at the Center for Regional Studies at UNM. She currently serves as Research Consultant for Latino Decisions, an American analytics and advisory firm that researches Latino political attitudes, experiences and engagement.

Gomez-Aguinaga served as Independent Research Contractor at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, conducting research on the use of solitary confinement across the state. Before academia, she served as research assistant in different organizations such as the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC, providing support for the U.S. Immigration Policy Program on issues such as immigration enforcement and deferred action; the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco, CA, doing research on immigration enforcement policies, unaccompanied minors and the DACA program; and the Cross Border Issues Group, conducting field work in Southern and Western Mexico to study migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States.

Gomez-Aguinaga’s current research projects examine the political behavior of ethno-racial minorities, with an emphasis on Latinos and immigrants, and the intersection of the public policy making process and the politics of minority groups. Her research has been published in the Journal on Migration and Human Security and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and is forthcoming in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, and Social Science Quarterly.



Gomez-Aguinaga’s research agenda examines the political behavior of ethno-racial minorities, with an emphasis on Latinos and immigrants. Her first set of projects examines the media effects of Spanish-language news media on US Latinos; more specifically, her work examines the extent in which tailored content for Latino audiences, the use of Spanish as a US minority language and the presence of co-ethnic elites have an impact on the perceptions of policy saliency, identity and trust in media among Latinos. Her work also examines the political attitudes of Latino voters, particularly in terms of inter-race relations and vote choice. Her research in this area has been published in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and is forthcoming in the Journal of Race Ethnicity and Politics and Social Science Quarterly.

Gomez-Aguinaga’s second area of research examines the intersection of the public policy-making process and the politics of minority groups. She is specifically interested in analyzing the ways in which ethno-racial minorities are impacted by differential policy outcomes. Her research projects in this area have focused on immigration, health and the criminal justice system. In addition to academic publications, her research in this area has been featured in prominent newspapers such as The New York Times and NBC News, has been cited in congressional hearings and testimonies, and led to recent policy changes in the New Mexico State Legislature.

Select Publications

Peer-Reviewed Publications

- Gomez-Aguinaga, Barbara, Gabriel R. Sanchez, and Matt Barreto. Forthcoming. “The Importance of State and Local Variation in Black-Brown Attitudes: How Latinos View Blacks and How Blacks Affect Their Views.” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.

- Vargas, Edward, Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga, Gabriel R. Sanchez, and Matt Barreto. Forthcoming. “How Latinos’ Perceptions of Environmental Health Threats Impact Policy Preferences.” Social Science Quarterly.

- Juarez, Melina D., Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga, and Sonia Bettez. 2018. “Localities and the Immigrant Detention Center Complex: Profits over Communities?” Journal on Migration and Human Security, 6(1), 74-96.

- Sanchez, Gabriel R., and Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga. 2017. “Latino Rejection of the Trump Campaign: How Trump’s Racialized Rhetoric Mobilized the Latino Electorate as Never Before.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, 42(2), 165-181.

- Sanchez, Gabriel R., Edward D. Vargas, Melina D. Juarez, Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga, and Francisco I. Pedraza. 2017. “Nativity and Citizenship Status Affect Latinos' Health Insurance Coverage Under the ACA.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-18.

Other Scholarly Works

- Gomez-Aguinaga, Barbara, and Brooke Abrams. 2019. “Solitary Confinement in New Mexico: A Review of Policies, Practices, and Inmate Experiences in Isolation.” American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, February 28. Available online.

- Gomez-Aguinaga, Barbara, Gabriel R. Sanchez, Eric Griego, and Sam Howarth. “Surprise Medical Billing in New Mexico: Results from the 2017 New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance UNM RWJF Center for Health Policy Surprise Bill Survey.” December 20, 2017. Available online.

- Gomez-Aguinaga, Barbara. “Stepping into the Vacuum: State and Cities Act on Immigration, But Do Restrictions Work?” Migration Policy Institute’s Migration Information Source. November 3, 2016. Available online.

- Hipsman, Faye, Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga, and Randy Capps. “DACA at Four: Participation in the Deferred Action Program and Impacts on Recipients.” Migration Policy Institute. August 2016. Available online.

choose your poison




- Politics of Ethnic Groups (POLS 300), Spring 2019 (45 students)


- Public Policy and Administration (POLS 270), Fall 2018 (51 students)


- Hispanics in U.S. Politics (POLS 308) w/Dr. Gabriel R. Sanchez, Fall 2018


- Health Policy and Politics (POLS 376) w/Dr. McFarlane, Spring 2017


- American Politics (POLS 200) with Dr. Jessica T. Feezell, Spring 2016


- Research Seminar in Race, Ethnicity, and US Campaigns and Elections (POLS 511) with Dr. Gabriel R. Sanchez, Fall 2016

Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga

1915 Roma Street Northeast,

Room 2059,

Albuquerque, NM 87131


website:    BarbaraGomez.com

email:       barbarag@unm.edu