Marisa Cianciarulo



Dean & Professor of Law



J.D., American University, Washington College of Law
B.A., The Catholic University of America


Coming soon


Marisa S. Cianciarulo is the Dean of Western State College of Law. Prior to joining Western State in 2023, Dean Cianciarulo was a tenured professor of law at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, where she served as Interim Dean (2021-2023) and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2017-2021), and taught Civil Procedure, Gender and Sexual Orientation and the Law, Refugee Law, and Remedies. An expert in immigration and refugee law, Dean Cianciarulo practiced immigration law in the Washington, D.C. area, served as a staff attorney with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration in Washington,
D.C., and served as the Reuschlein Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Villanova Law School Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services from 2003 until 2006. Dean Cianciarulo’s research focuses on reproductive freedom, vulnerable immigrant populations, and the intersection of gender and immigration.


  • Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric and Authoritarianism (work in progress).
  • For the Greater Good?:  The Subordination of Reproductive Freedom to State Interests in the United States and China, 51 Akron Law Review 99 (2017).
  • Refugees in Our Midst:  Applying International Human Rights Law to the Bullying of LGBTQ Youth in the United States, 47 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 55 (2016).
  • Seventeen Years Since the Sunset:  The Expiration of 245(i) and Its Effect on U.S. Citizens Married to Undocumented Immigrants, 18 Chapman Law Review 451 (2015) (symposium issue).
  • Unauthorized Americans and European Outcasts, 27 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 519 (2013).
  • The “Arizonification” of Immigration Law:  Implications of Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting for State and Local Immigration Legislation, 15 Harvard Latino Law Review 85 (2012).
  • Batterers as Agents of the State:  Challenging the Public/Private Distinction in Intimate Partner Violence-Based Asylum Claims, 35 Harvard Journal of Law & Gender 117 (2012), excerpted inNancy K. D. Lemon, Domestic Violence Law 1075 (4th ed. 2013).
  • U.S. Immigration Law:  Where Antiquated Views on Gender and Sexual Orientation Go to Die, 55 Wayne Law Review 1897 (2010) (symposium issue).
  • Pulling the Trigger:  Separation Violence as a Basis for Refugee Protection for Battered Women, (co-authored with Dr. Claudia David), 59 American University Law Review 337 (2009).
  • What Is Choice?  Examining Sex Trafficking Legislation through the Lenses of Rape Law and Prostitution, 6 University of St. Thomas Law Review 54 (2008) (symposium issue).
  • Can’t Live With ’Em, Can’t Deport ’Em:  Why Immigration Reform Efforts Have Failed, 13 NeXus Journal 13 (2008) (symposium issue).
  • The Trafficking and Exploitation Victims Assistance Program:  A Proposed Early Response Plan for Victims of International Human Trafficking in the United States, 38 New Mexico Law Review 373 (2008).
  • Modern-Day Slavery and Cultural Bias:  Proposals for Reforming the U.S. Visa System for Victims of International Human Trafficking, 7 Nevada Law Journal 826 (2007) (symposium issue) reprinted in, G. Chandana, Ed., Human Trafficking:  A Socio-Legal Study 106 (2008).
  • Counterproductive and Counterintuitive Counterterrorism:  The Post-September 11 Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, 84 Denver University Law Review 1121 (2007) (symposium issue).
  • Terrorism and Asylum Seekers:  Why the Real ID Act is a False Promise, 43 Harvard Journal on Legislation 101 (2006), excerpted in Karen Musalo, Jennifer Moore & Richard A. Boswell, Refugee Law and Policy:  A Comparative and International Approach (4th ed. 2011).
  • The W Visa:  A Legislative Proposal for Female and Child Refugees Trapped in a Post-9/11 World, 17 Yale Journal of Law & Feminism 459 (2005).


  • “Ask the Experts: Roe v. Wade, Now What?” panel presentation, Chapman University, June 28, 2022.
  • “Law, Policy, and Philosophy,” panel presentation, Chapman University conference on The Border/La Frontera, Nov. 15, 2019.
  • “Immigration Policy Changes Under Trump and the Role of the Courts,” panel presentation, Western Law Professors of Color (WLPOC) & Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty (CAPALF) Joint Conference, Oct. 19, 2018.
  • “Is Your Client Eligible for Asylum?” Orange County Bar Association International Law and Immigration Law Sections, June 5, 2018.
  • “Immigration Relief for Victims of Crime and Potential Changes under the Trump Administration,” Orange County Social Services, Mar. 1, 2018.
  • “Immigration Law and Policy and How it Affects Students,” Garden Grove Education Association, Jan. 18, 2018.
  • “From Supremacy to Sanctuary: Current Issues in Immigration Law,” panel presentation, Appellate Judges Education Institute, Nov. 4, 2017.
  • “Immigration: Policy, Law, and Civil Rights,” panel presentation, Law Review Symposium – Law and Border: Defining Our Nation, University of La Verne College of Law, Apr. 7, 2017.
  • “The Future of Refugee Resettlement in the United States,” Orange County Bar Association International Law Section, Dec. 1, 2016.
  • “Immigration 101 Legal Education Workshop,” Office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price, Oct. 19, 2016.
  • “Debunking DOMA,” US Citizenship & Immigration Services California Service Center, June 24, 2014.
  • “Cause Lawyering and the Immigration Setting,” panel presentation, Legal Symposium – Cause Lawyering: 60 Years After Brown v. Board of Education, University of La Verne College of Law, Feb. 28, 2014.
  • “Labor Trafficking in the United States: The Global Horizons Case,” panel presentation, Whittier Law Review Symposium on Human Trafficking, Costa Mesa, CA, Nov. 2, 2012.
  • “The Arizonification of Immigration Law: Implications of Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting for State and Local Immigration Legislation,” Chapman University Public Sociology Conference on Faceless Latino/a Immigrants: Pathways to Resistance, Orange, CA, Mar. 16, 2012.
  • “Birthright Citizenship,” Anti-Defamation League debate against Judge Jim Gray (ret.), Chapman University School of Law, Orange, CA, Mar. 23, 2011.
  • “Refugee Protection for Battered Women: It’s Nothing Personal,” faculty workshop, Marquette University School of Law, Milwaukee, WI, Feb. 28, 2011.
  • “America: A Country of Immigrants Grappling with Immigration Reform,” Diversity Week panel discussion, Chapman University Argyros Forum, Orange, CA, Nov. 3, 2010.
  • “Drawing the Line on Immigration,” Federalist Society presentation with Ilya Shapiro (Cato Institute), Chapman University School of Law, Orange, CA, Oct. 20, 2010.
  • “Immigration Reform,” panel presentation, Irvine United Congregational Church, Irvine, CA, Sep. 15, 2010.
  • “Gender, Ethnicity and Immigration Status: Clinics as Vehicles for Securing and Protecting Human Rights within the United States,” concurrent session panel presentation, Association of American Law Schools Clinical Conference, Baltimore, MD, May 7, 2010.
  • “Human Rights,” panel presentation, University of LaVerne School of Law Symposium on Failed States: Afghanistan and State Building, Ontario, CA, Apr. 16, 2010.
  • “Immigration Law 101,” Orange County Superior Court, Orange, CA, Apr. 9, 2010.
  • “Rank Has Its Privileges: Using Law and Feminist Theory to Explore Gender-Based and Sexual Orientation-Based Violence,” panel presentation, Society of American Law Teachers, Poverty Law Conference, San Francisco, CA, Mar. 20, 2010.
  • “Do We Need New Glasses? Looking at Identity and Immigration,” Democratic Party of Orange County, Orange, CA, June 10, 2009.
  • “Proposition 8, Legal Challenges and the Future of Marriage Between Same-Sex Couples,” moderator, AALS Annual Meeting Hot Topics panel, Jan. 8, 2009.
  • “What Is Choice? Examining Sex Trafficking Legislation through the Lenses of Rape Law and Prostitution,” panel presentation, University of St. Thomas Law Journal Symposium on Human Trafficking, St. Paul, MN, Sep. 25, 2008.
  • “Battered Women and Asylum: Defining the Social Group through Psychology,” work-in-progress presentation, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, West Palm Beach, FL, July 27, 2008.
  • “‘Can I Have a New Clinic Partner?’ How Institutional Culture Affects the Risks We Take and the Mistakes We Make in Dealing with Students, Deans, Colleagues and the Community,” concurrent session presentation, Association of American Law Schools Conference on Clinical Legal Education, Tucson, AZ, May 5, 2008.
  • “Battered Women and Asylum: Defining the Social Group through Psychology,” work-in-progress presentation, Immigration Professors Workshop, Miami, FL, May 2, 2008.
  • “Gender-Related Immigration Issues,” League of Women Voters of the Central Orange County Area, Orange, CA, Oct. 24, 2007.
  • “The Legal Implications of Human Trafficking,” panel presentation, Human Trafficking Conference, Orange, CA, Aug. 25, 2005.
  • “Incorporating a ‘Challenging Assumptions’ Component into Staple Clinical Exercises,” panel presentation, AALS Workshop on Clinical Education, New Orleans, LA, May 4, 2007.
  • “The New Immigrants,” panel presentation, Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Immigration Symposium, Orange, CA, Apr. 28, 2007.
  • “Refugee Protection and Counterterrorism Post-9/11,” panel presentation, Denver University Law Review Symposium, Denver, CO, Feb. 16, 2007.
  • “Immigration and Work,” moderator, Eleventh Annual LatCrit Conference, Las Vegas, NV, Oct. 6, 2006.