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Immigration Law Research Guide

This guide provides resources for locating sources for U.S. Immigration Law

Administrative Materials

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a division of the Department of Justice, plays an important role in the administration of immigration law. The EOIR supervises both the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge.

The following is a guide to finding administrative regulations and rulings.

Administrative Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations: Title 8 of the CFR deals with "Aliens and Nationality". Title 8 is available in full on the USCIS website. However, many other sections of the CFR also deal with immigration issues and are also available on the USCIS website.

  • GovInfo: 1996 to present (searchable and browseable) also provides access to the e-CFR
  • Hein Online: 1938 to present
  • Lexis (Content Type > Administrative Codes & Regs > CFR - Code of Federal Regulations)
  • Westlaw (Content Type >Regulations > Code of Federal Regulations)
  • Available in print on the 2nd Floor of the Law Library. (One year plus the current.) 

Federal Register 

  • GovInfo: 1936 to present (searchable and browseable).
  • Hein Online: 1936 to present.
  • Lexis (Content Type >Administrative Codes and Regs > Registers >Federal Register): 1936 to present.
  • Westlaw: Federal > Federal Register (1936 to present).
  • USCIS Federal Register Announcements: 2006 to present (provides legal notice of administrative rules and notices and Presidential documents).

Administrative Rulings

Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Decisions

  • Board of Immigration Appeals: rulings available from vol. 8, 1955; includes cumulative indexes for all volumes as well.
  • Lexis (Content Type > Administrative Materials > By Topic: Immigration >Immigration Precedent Decisions): August 29, 1940 to present.
  • Lexis  (Content Type > Administrative Materials > By Topic: Immigration > Immigration Non-Precedent Decisions: BIA, AAO/AAU): February 1985 to present.
  • Westlaw: Content Type > Administrative Decisions and Guidance > By Topic: Immigration > BIA Appeals Decisions (August 1940 to present)
  • HeinOnline: Administrative Decisions Under Immigration and Nationality Laws ( 1940 to present)

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

  • USCIS: Provides access Non-Precedent Decisions.  Non-Precedent decisions are available back to 2005. The USCIS provides a link through to the Department of Justice's repository for Precedent Decisions.   
  • Lexis (Find A Source > Immigration Precedent Decisions): August 29, 1940 to present.
  • Lexis BIA & AAO/AAU Non-Precedent Decisions February 1985-present (Find A Source> Immigration Non-Precedent Decisions: BIA, AAO/AAU)
  • Westlaw: Home>Administrative Appeals & Guidance> Immigration 1989 to present

OCAHO Decisions (Immigration-related decisions issued by the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer of the Department of Justice)

  • Department of Justice OCAHO Decisions: arranged by volume number.
  • Lexis (Find A Source > Office of Chief Admin. Hearing Officer Immigration Review Decisions): March 11, 1988 to present.
  • Westlaw: Home > Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Federal Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Department of Justice (DOJ) > Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR): March 1988 to present

BALCA Decisions (Decisions of the Department of Labor Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals)

  • Lexis (Find A Source > Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals Decisions): February 1987 to present.
  • Westlaw: Home > Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Federal Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Department of Labor (DOL)Nov. 1987 to present
  • OALJ Law Library Immigration Collection (Office of Administrative Law Judges, Department of Labor): includes BALCA decisions and BALCA en banc decisions.