D. Carolina Núñez

Charles E. Jones Professor of Law

Carolina Núñez is the Charles E. Jones Professor of Law at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. She researches and writes about immigration law, citizenship, and immigrant rights, with a specific emphasis on undocumented immigrants. Professor Núñez’s articles have been published in various journals, including the Southern California Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, and the Boston College Law Review. Her most recent scholarship explores the early history of U.S. immigration law, including the era of Chinese exclusion, as a context for analyzing the trajectory of constitutional immigration law. Her commentary on immigration-related current events has appeared in the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune, on BYU Radio, and KUER.

Professor Núñez has taught a variety of courses, including Immigration Law, the Plenary Power Colloquium, Immigrant Rights, Torts, and Professional Responsibility. As part of the Law and Social Change Initiative, she works with colleagues to invite speakers, develop courses, and create opportunities for students interested in law’s potential to effect social change and improve lives. Professor Núñez also co-founded the J. Reuben Clark Law School’s Refugee and Immigration Initiative, through which law students provide legal assistance to women and children detained in an immigration detention center in southern Texas. In 2017, second- and third-year law students recognized Professor Núñez as Professor of the Year.

An active member of the legal academy and her local community, Professor Núñez participates in many organizations. She is on the executive committee for the AALS section on immigration law, sits on the governing board of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and is the vice chair of the Utah Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

A summa cum laude graduate of the Brigham Young University Law School, Professor Núñez clerked for the Honorable Fortunato P. Benavides of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She subsequently practiced commercial litigation at Stoel Rives LLP in Salt Lake City, Utah, and joined the BYU law faculty in 2008.

Courses Taught

  • Central American Refugee Externship Program
  • Immigrant Rights
  • Immigration Law
  • Plenary Power Colloquium
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Torts


  • J.D., Brigham Young University
  • B.A., Brigham Young University
  • Articles
  • Sites of (Mis)Translation: The Credible Fear Process in a United States Detention Center, 35 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 399 (2021) (with Kif Augustine-Adams). [SSRN]
  • Dark Matter in the Law, 62 B.C. L. Rev. 1555 (2021). [SSRN]
  • Hidden Bias in Empirical Textualism, 109 Geo. L.J. 767 (2021) (with Matthew Jennejohn & Sam Nelson). [SSRN]
  • Citizenship Gaps54 Tulsa L. Rev. 301 (2019) (reviewing Kunal M. Parker, Marking Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America, 1600-2000 (2016), Carrie Hyde, Civic Longing: The Speculative Origins of U.S. Citizenship (2017) & Richard Sobel, Citizenship as Foundation of Rights: Meaning for America (2016))[SSRN]
  • Mapping Citizenship: Status, Membership, and the Path in Between, 2016 Utah L. Rev. 477 (2016). [SSRN]
  • War of the Words: Aliens, Immigrants, Citizens, and the Language of Exclusion, 2013 BYU L. Rev. 1517 (2013). [SSRN]
  • Beyond Blood and Borders: Finding Meaning in Birthright Citizenship, 78 Brook. L. Rev. 835 (2013). [SSRN]
  • Inside the Border, Outside the Law: Undocumented Immigrants and the Fourth Amendment, 85 S. Cal. L. Rev. 85 (2011). [SSRN]
  • Fractured Membership: Deconstructing Territoriality to Secure Rights and Remedies for the Undocumented Worker, 2010 Wis. L. Rev. 817 (2010). [SSRN]
  • Still on the Border: The Fractured Membership Rights of the Undocumented WorkerClark Memorandum, Spring 2010, at 19.
  • Other Writings
  • Does a Conviction for a Crime Listed in the Grounds of Inadmissibility Terminate a Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident’s Period of Continuous Residence for Purposes of Cancellation of Removal?, 47 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas., Nov. 4, 2019, at 4. [SSRN]
  • Brief of Amicus Curiae Ad Hoc Coalition of Utah Law Professors in Support of Petitioners, with Kif Augustine-Adams, In Re Mary Doe and Jane DoeCase, No. 20180806-SC, Utah Supreme Court, supporting the admission of undocumented immigrants to the Utah State Bar, March 22, 2019. [SSRN]
  • Is the Board of Immigration Appeals’ Refusal to Toll the Filing Period for Motions to Reopen Removal Proceedings Subject to Judicial Review?, 42 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas., Apr. 20, 2015, at 254. [SSRN]
  • Is a State Conviction for Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana an Aggravated Felony for Which an Alien May Be Deported Under the Immigration and Nationality Act?, 40 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas., Oct. 1, 2012, at 34. [SSRN]
  • Recognizing the Role of Discretion in the Immigration System, JURIST – Forum, Aug. 16, 2012, http://jurist.org/forum/2012/08/carolina-nunez-immigration-discretion.php.
  • To What Extent Does Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act Apply to Aliens Who Are Deportable for an Aggravated Felony Conviction?, 39 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas., Oct. 3, 2011, at 27. [SSRN]
  • Still on the Border: The Fractured Membership Rights of the Undocumented Worker, Clark Memorandum, Spring 2010, at 19. [SSRN]
  • Litigation Associate, Stoel Rives, LLP, 2005-2007
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Fortunato P Benavides, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Austin, TX, 2004-2005