D. Carolina Núñez

Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum and Professor of Law

Carolina Núñez is the Associate Dean of Research and Academic Affairs and a 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 the Southern California Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, and Utah 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.

Dean 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 helps invite speakers, develop courses, and create opportunities for students interested in law’s potential to effect social change and improve lives. Dean 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. As part of the Initiative, law students travel to Texas for an intensive 1-week clinic in which they prepare detained women for interviews with asylum officers, help research for and draft immigration court documents, and provide other legal assistance. In 2017, second- and third-year law students recognized Dean Núñez as Professor of the Year.

An active member of the legal academy and her local community, Dean Núñez participates in many organizations. She is currently a member of the governing board of Better Days 2020, a nonprofit organization dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history, especially its early commitment to women’s suffrage, to instill that legacy in Utah’s future. She also sits on the governing board of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, is a member of the Association of American Law Schools Committee for the Recruitment and Retention of Minority Law Teachers and Students, and was recently appointed a member of the Utah Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She also served as a member of the founding governing board for the Utah Chapter of the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, which supports international programs aimed at social, political, and economic equality for women and girls.

A summa cum laude graduate of the Brigham Young University Law School and Managing Editor of the BYU Law Review, Dean 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.


  • Citizenship
  • Immigration

Courses Taught

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


  • J.D., Brigham Young University, 2004
  • B.A., Brigham Young University, 2001


  • Citizenship Gaps, 54 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 Worker, Clark Memorandum, Spring 2010, at 19.


  • 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