U.S. Immigration Law Research Guide

Federal Statutes 

United States Code

The Immigration and Naturalization Act, found in Title 8 of the US Code, serves as a foundation for immigration law.

United States Code; KF62 2006 A2
USCA; KF62.3 C621
USCS; KF62.2 C62

The US Code can also be accessed through Lexis and Westlaw with a password.

  • Lexis pathway: (Legal > Area of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Statutes & Legislative Materials > USCS - Immigration - Titles 8, 18, 29 and 42)
     
  • Westlaw pathway: Westlaw (USCA)

Federal Legislative Histories

For an overview of the process of conducting a legislative history please see Marquette University Law Library Federal Legislative Research Guide. This Guide includes bibliographic information on sources for compiled legislative histories.

For recent legislation see Thomas. Suggested pathway: On the left navigation bar click on Bills, Resolutions > Search bill summary and status.

For Historical Immigration and Naturalization Legislation the US Citizenship and Immigration Services offers pdf formats of legislation dating back to 1790.


Federal Regulations

Federal agencies are empowered to implement and enforce regulations (rules that carry the full force of law). Immigration law is a heavily regulated area of law. There are five federal agencies that regulate the area of immigration law:

  1. Department of Homeland Security
  2. Department of State
  3. Department of Labor
  4. Department of Health and Human Services
  5. United States Information Agency

There are three components of the Department of Homeland Security that handle issues related to immigration:

  1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  2. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  3. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Regulations

Regulations generated from these agencies are printed in two government publications:

Code of Federal Regulations; KF70 A1 (The Code of Federal Regulations compiles regulations by subject matter).

CFRs may also be accessed through Lexis and Westlaw with a password.

  • Lexis pathway: (Legal > Areas of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Administrative Materials & Regulations > CFR-Immigration Titles)
     
  • Westlaw pathway: Westlaw (CFR)

Federal Register; KF70 A2 (The Federal Register is a chronological listing of regulations. It is published daily.).

Federal Registers may also be accessed through Lexis (July 1980 to present) and Westlaw (January 1981 to present) with a password.

  • Lexis pathway: Lexis (Legal > Areas of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Administrative Materials & Regulations > Federal Register and CFR-Immigration)
     
  • Westlaw pathwaya: Westlaw (FR)

Administrative Decisions

There are three offices within the Department of Justice that handle matters related to immigration:

  1. Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
  2. Office for Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practice
  3. Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL)

The EOIR administers and interprets Federal immigration law and regulations through the conduct of immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings which can be accessed at:

  1. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
  2. Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCH)
  3. Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO)

The EOIR Virtual Law Library compiles access to these resources in an easy to use website.

Decisions

I. Administrative Decisions Under Immigration and Nationality Laws; KF4812 A23 (vols. 1-23)

Hein's Cumulative Index to Interim Precedent Decisions (IPD) of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA): August 1940 - February 1995; KF4812 A231 1997

These decisions may also be accessed through Lexis (August 29, 1940 to present) and Westlaw (August 1940 to present) with a password:

  • The pathway for IPDs through Lexis is: Lexis (Legal > Areas of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Administrative Materials & Regulations > Agency Decisions > Immigration Precedent Decisions)
     
  • The pathway for BIAs through Lexis is: Lexis (Legal > Areas of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Administrative Materials & Regulations > Agency Decisions > Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) & AAU Non-Precedent Decisions)
     
  • Westlaw pathway: Westlaw (FIM-BIA)

II. OCAHO EFOIA Decisions (Immigration-related decisions issued by the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer of the US DOJ); arranged alphabetically by case name.

OCAHO Decisions as of July 31, 1997: Cumulative Index of Administrative Law Judge and Chief Administrative Hearing Officer Decisions; KF4812 A2 I56

These decisions may also be accessed through Lexis (from March 1988) and Westlaw (from March 1988) with a password:

  • Lexis pathway: (Legal > Areas of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Administrative Materials & Regulations > Agency Decisions > Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer Immigration Review Decisions)
     
  • Westlaw pathway: (FIM-OCAHO)

III. Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals Decisions(BALCA); Immigration Law and Procedure, KF4815.I47

BALCA decisions can also be accessed through Lexis (from February 1987) and Westlaw (from November 1987) with a password.

  • Lexis pathway: Lexis (Legal > Areas of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Administrative Materials & Regulations > Agency Decisions > Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals Decisions)
     
  • Westlaw pathway: Westlaw (FIM-BALCA)

IV. Decisions issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU); Office of Administrative Appeals

  • Lexis (Legal > Areas of Law-By Topic > Immigration > Administrative Materials & Regulations > Agency Decisions > Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) & AAU Non-Precedent Decisions)
     
  • Westlaw (FIM-AAU); from 1989

Secondary Resources

When beginning a research project, it may be helpful to obtain an overview of the topic. The following subject heading searches in the Marquette Law Library catalog will yield many resources:

Aliens - United States
Americanization
Citizenship - United States
Emigration and Immigration
Emigration and Immigration Law - United States

Treatises and Casebooks

Bender's Immigration Bulletin(password required); KF4815.I476

Bender's Immigration Regulations Service(password required); KF4815.I475

Immigration Law and Procedure; KF4815.I47

Immigration Law Service 2d(password required)

Richard D. Steel, Steel on Immigration Law, 2d.; KF4819 S74

Immigration Law Journals

Georgetown Immigration Law Journal

Immigration and Nationality Law Review

Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies

International Journal of Refugee Law


Organizations

ABA Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono

The American Immigration Law Foundation

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Center for Immigration Studies

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

Immigration and Ethnic History Society

National Immigration Forum

U.S. Committee for Refugees


Current Awareness

Immigration Law Today (a news bulletin of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

Interpreter Releases; PER (1992- v.69 no.39-)

Austin T. Fragomen, et al., Immigration Law and Business
Available on Westlaw (IMLB)

 

LAO, MAOB 9/08