Research Guide for the Seminar on Immigrants' Rights

 ***THIS is an ARCHIVED guide. It may contain BROKEN links. Its value is HISTORICAL only.***

Current Research Guides 

Wei Luo, Director of Technical Services and Lecturer in Law
Phone: 935-8045, E-mail:
Created in Jan. 1999 and Last Updated in Dec. 2005 (Written for Professor Legomsky's Seminar on Immigrants’ Rights)

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction 

II. Federal Statutes, Regulations, and Agency
1. United States Code
2. Code of Federal Regulations
3. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 

III. Legislative History 

IV. Congressional Committees
1. Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, Senate Committee on Judiciary
2. Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, House Committee on Judiciary 

V. Administrative and Judicial Decisions.
2. Index
3. Citators
4. Decision Reporters 

1. Westlaw
2. Lexis 

VII. Secondary Materials
1. Periodical Indexes
2. Specialized Legal Periodicals
3. Text Books
4. Loose-leaf Services
5. Reference Books
6. Bender's Immigration Library on Lexis. 

VIII. Immigration Resources on the Internet
1. United Nations and US Government Websites
2. Not-for-Profit Organizations
3. Electronic Discussion Groups on the Internet 

I. Introduction  

This research guide is intended to help would-be researchers find literature on aliens and the law. The following annotated bibliography covers the major sets of immigration law collections and the secondary sources owned by the Washington University School of Law Library. Some immigration resources on the Internet are also listed. 

II. Federal Statutes, Regulations, and Agency 

1. United States Code
Immigration law has been essentially a matter of federal law under Art. I, § 8 and 9 of the Constitution. The federal laws about immigration and the rights of aliens are codified in Title 8. Aliens and Nationality of the United StatesCode. To search the federal statute, it is better to use the United States Code Annotated (USCA) or United States Code Services (USCS). Both of these sets are located in the Reading Room and on the fifth floor. They are also available on Westlaw and Lexis respectively.

2. Code of Federal Regulations
Most federal administrative rules and regulations are also codified in Title 8 Aliens and Nationality of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 3 contains presidential documents affecting immigration. Title 20, Employees' Benefits, includes provisions for labor certification procedures. Title 22, Foreign Relations, provides regulations governing the issuance of visas by the Department of State. Title 28, Judicial Administration, includes regulations for the Immigration and Naturalization Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The CFR is located in the Reading Room and on the fifth floor. It is also available on Westlaw, Lexis, and GPO website at

3.U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a Bureau of the Department of Homeland Security, formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) under the Department of Justice. Its website is located at, which provides a history and overview of the USCIS, including its enforcement and examination responsibilities, and the departments responsible for each. This website includes USCIS Operations Instructions and Interpretations for the federal immigration law and regulation, USCIS Federal Register Publications from 1994, and public laws amending the USCIS.

III. Legislative History 

In legal research, legislative history research is a rather complicated process. To learn some basic research skills in legislative history, please check out the "Legislative History Research Guide" at /library/pages.aspx?id=1350 or "Legislative History: Online Research" at /library/pages.aspx?id=1349.  The following serial set is a compilation of major congressional documents and related materials for all immigration, alien and naturalization statutes from 1952 on.
Immigration and Nationality Acts : legislative histories and related documents, by James Francis Bailey, III, Buffalo : Hein, 1987- . KF4805.8 1987; The library canceled its subscription in 1997. For the immigration legislative history since 1986, the following Westlaw database can be used:

Federal Immigration Legislative History




IV. Congressional Committees  

The following information was as current as 12/14/2005.

1. Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship,Senate Committee on Judiciary 

Jurisdiction: immigration, citizenship, and refugee laws; oversight of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (Homeland Security), and the immigration functions of the United States Customs and Border Protection (Homeland Security), United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Homeland Security) and the Office for Border and Transportation Security (Homeland Security); oversight of the immigration-related functions of the United States Department of Justice, the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Labor, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS); oversight of international migration and refugee laws and international migration and refugee policy, and private immigration relief bills.

Sen. John Cornyn (R TX), Chair 

Majority (7 R)

Sen. John Cornyn (R TX)
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R IA)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R AZ)
Sen. Mike DeWine (R OH)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R AL)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R KS)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R OK)

Minority (6 D)

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D MA)
Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D DE)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D CA)
Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D WI)
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D NY)
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D IL)

SDOB: Senate Dirksen Office Building, Washington, DC  20510-6275
Web Site: 

2. Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, House Committee on Judiciary 

Jurisdiction: immigration and naturalization; admission of refugees; Student Exchange Visitor Information System (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services); oversight of implementation of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996; treaties, conventions, and international agreements; claims against the United States; federal charters of incorporation; private immigration and claims bills; other appropriate matters as referred by the Chair; and relevant oversight.

Rep. John N. Hostettler (R IN–8), Chair 

Majority (10 R)

Rep. John N. Hostettler (R IN–8)
Rep. Steve King (R IA–5)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R TX–1)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R TX–21)
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R CA–24)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R VA–6)
Rep. Dan Lungren (R CA–3)
Rep. Jeff Flake (R AZ–6)
Rep. Bob Inglis (R SC–4)
Rep. Darrell Issa (R CA–49)

Minority (6 D)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D TX–18)
Rep. Howard L. Berman (D CA–28)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D CA–16)
Rep. Linda Sánchez (D CA–39)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D CA–35)
Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D MA–5)

RHOB: Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC  20515-6216

George M. Fishman

Chief Counsel 



Art Arthur




Cynthia Blackston

Professional Staff Member 



Leilani Pallares

Staff Assistant 



FAX: Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims 202-225-3672



V. Administrative and Judicial Decisions  

Administrative Decisions of the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (which together constitute the Executive Office of Immigration Review), the Attorney General, or service officers of the Administrative Appeals Unit that are declared to be precedent are published. References to non-precedential decisions often are found in the Interpreter Release (JK1751 .C55, current issues on reserve) as well as in some of the government publications, such as Administrative Law Judge and Chief Administrative Hearing Officer Decisions and Administrative Decisions Under Employer Sanctions, Unfair Immigration-related Employment Practices and Civil Penalty Document Fraud laws of the United States (published by Government Printing Office). Administrative decisions are also made by administrative law judges of the Department of Labor who review decisions made by that agency for labor certificate applications. Decisions of the Board of Appellate Review for the State Department regarding nationality are not published. Once an alien has exhausted his or her administrative remedies from any of these departments, further appeals may be made to the appropriate federal court.
1. Digests 

West’s Federal Practice Digest 4th, under the main subject heading of “Alien.” This digest is the best case finding tool to look for immigration law cases. The main subject heading “Alien” is subdivided into the four main subheadings: Disabilities, Exclusion or Expulsion, Immigration, and Naturalization. Located in Reading Room.
Patel's Immigration law digest: decisions from 1940-1998, by P.J. Patel Rochester, N. Y. : Lawyers Co-operative Pub. Co., 1982-1998 (loose-leaf), this publication ceased in 1998.
KF4814 .P372
American Jurisprudence 2d. v. Corpus Juris Secundum, American Jurisprudence 2d. (AmJur) digests laws and cases related to immigration under the heading of "Aliens and Citizens" while Corpus Juris Secundum (C.J.S.) digests them under the heading of "Aliens". However, only AmJur gives references and citations to immigration and naturalization precedent administrative decisions. Both of them located in the Reading Room.

2. Index 

Hein's cumulative index to interim precedent decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals, Buffalo, NY : W.S. Hein, 1992- . As of December 8, 1998, the most current volume of the index is the 1997 edition which covers the interim precedent decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals from August 1940 to February 1995. Since this publication is a subject index, it could be used as a decision locator.
KF4812.7 .H45

3. Citators 

Patel's citations of administrative decisions under immigration and nationality laws, Kew Gardens, NY : Legal Research Board,1988- , updated annually. This citation traces the history and treatment of all reported (precedent) administrative decisions under immigration and nationality laws, at both the administrative and judicial levels.
KF4812.5 .P372
Shepard's immigration and naturalization citations, 2nd ed, Colorado Springs, Colo. : Shepard's/McGraw-Hill,1991-
KF4810.5 .S53 1991, in Reading Room 

4. Decision Reporters 

Judicial decisions related to immigration issues can be found in various federal case reporters such as Supreme Court Reporters,West's Federal Reporters and West's Federal Supplement. Administrative decisions of immigration and naturalization are published by the Government Printing Office and some private publishers.
United States, Board of Immigration Appeals, Administrative decisions under immigration & nationality laws, Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1943- . This publication collects precedent decisions issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Immigration and Naturalization Services from Aug. 1940 on. As of December 7, 1998, the most current bound volume covers the decisions up to October 2, 1995. However, it is supplemented by loose-leaf releases filed in three- ring binders. The Government Document Number is J 21.11. They are located on the second floor in the government documents area. The Administrative Decisions after July 31, 2000 can be accessed at; while the Administrative Decisions issued prior to July 31, 2000 can be accessed at   

BIA Interim Decisions The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), commonly referred to as the BIA, issues appellate administrative decisions that are binding on the DHS Bureaus responsible for enforcing immigration laws nationwide. Decisions of the BIA are binding on all DHS officers and Immigration Judges unless modified or overruled by the Attorney General or a Federal court. The BIA is not a Federal court, but its decisions are subject to judicial review in the Federal courts. The Board has been given nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals from certain decisions rendered by Immigration Judges and by DHS Bureau offices in a wide variety of proceedings in which the DHS Bureaus are one party and the other party is either an alien or a citizen. The BIA is part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review-a separate federal agency that is a component of the Department of Justice. BIA Interim Decisions issued since 1976 can be accessed at

United States, Department of Justice, Administrative decisions under employer sanctions & unfair immigration-related employment practices laws, Washington, D.C. : G.P.O., 1991- . This publication is continued by the new title, Administrative Decisions Under Employer Sanctions, Unfair Immigration-related Employment Practices and Civil Penalty Document Fraud laws of the United States since 1993. The coverage is from 1988 on. As of December 7, 1998, the most current bound volume covers the decisions up to March, 1997. However, it is supplemented by loose-leaf releases filed in three- ring binders. The government document number for the bound volumes is J1.103 while the government document number for the loose-leaf binders is J1.102. They are located in the second floor in the government documents area. The decisions are also available on the DOJ’s website at

Immigration law and procedure reporter or Bender's Immigration case reporter, New York, NY : M. Bender, 1985- , v. <1-12, 14-16 > (loose-leaf), updated monthly. The library only holds the cases up to December 1994. It includes full text of federal court cases, all BIA and AAU precedent decisions from 1984 to present, and selected BIA, AAU, BALCA, and OCAHO decisions. Beginning with v. 11, rel. 99, Apr. 1993, the title changed to: Bender's immigration case reporter. It includes separately numbered volumes consisting of: Bulletins, index and tables; Practice materials, finding aids. Beginning with rel. 129 (11/95), bulletins are issued in separately numbered volumes with the title: Bender's immigration bulletin. The reporter is comprised of a binder (referenced by an asterisk) containing bulletins, practice materials, primary source materials, and research materials; and separately numbered binders of administrative and court decisions handed down since 1984, v. 1- . KF4815 .I43. This publication is also available on Lexis.


1. Westlaw 

Westlaw has the following major specialized databases for immigration law research:  

Database Name 


Start of Coverage 


All Federal & State Cases - Immigration



Federal Immigration-Cases



Federal Immigration-Supreme Court Cases



Federal Immigration-Courts of Appeals Cases



Federal Immigration-District Courts Cases



Homeland Security and Anti-Terrorism - Cases



Federal Immigration Briefs




Federal Immigration-U.S. Code Annotated


Current data

Federal Immigration Bills



Federal Immigration Legislative History



Federal Immigration Congressional Record




Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals



Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals Deskbook


2nd edition (1992)-

Board of Immigration Appeals' Administrative Decisions



Federal Immigration-Code of Federal Regulations


Current data

Federal Immigration-Federal Register



Federal Immigration-Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer



Detention and Deportation Officers' Field Manual



Administrative Appeals Unit Decisions



INS Interpretations



Federal Immigration Administrative Decisions Combined









Business Immigration Law: Strategies for Employing Foreign Nationals



Migration World Magazine



West's Legal Directory-immigration


Current data

Immigration Law-Law Reviews, Texts & Bar Journals


Various by publication

West's Legal News: Immigration


Current data

2. Lexis  

Lexis Immigration Library has similar databases as that of Westlaw.


Statutes & Legislative Materials
USCS - Immigration - Titles 8, 18, 29 and 42
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996
CIS Legislative Histories-Immigration Law-Labor
View more sources 

Administrative Materials & Regulations
Federal Immigration Agency Decisions
Immigration Precedent Decisions
Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) & AAU Non-Precedent Decisions
INS and DOJ Legal Opinions
Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals Decisions
Office of Chief Admin. Hearing Officer Immigration Review Decisions
CFR - Immigration Titles
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
Dictionary of Occupational Titles
Foreign Affairs Manual-Citizenship and Nationality
Foreign Affairs Manual-Documents
Foreign Affairs Manual-Visas
INS Interpretations
INS Manuals
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Operations Instructions of the INS 

VII. Secondary Materials 

Washington University School of Law Library has a strong collection in immigration law. To find what the Library has, please search the Library's Online Catalog via the Internet at or via the online catalog terminals throughout the library. The major subject headings are listed as follows:

Emigration And Immigration

Emigration And Immigration Law

Emigration and immigration law -- United States 

United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History. 

Asylum, Right of

If you are looking for law review articles, please try the following indexes first. 


1. Periodical Indexes 

The Library subscribes to various online legal and law related periodical indexes that can be accessed through the Library Homepage at /library/.

(1) Index to Legal Periodicals, [New York, etc.] : H.W. Wilson Co., Jan. 1908-, monthly updating, except September. (The printed version is located in Reading Room, K9 .N32)
H.W. Wilson's Index to Legal Periodicals provides an index to articles from more than 500 legal journals, yearbooks, institutes, bar association organizations, university publications, law reviews, and government publications. The electronic version of Index to Legal Periodicals (the coverage is from 1981 on) is available on WESTLAW (ILP) and LEXIS (LAWREV/ILP). The library also subscribes to the web version of this index on the Internet and this online database also includes some full-text articles. To access this database, go to a computer connected to the law school's LAN and point your browser to the Library's Homepage, click on "Research Databases," “Legal Periodical Indexes,” and then on "Current Index to Legal Periodicals." 

(2) Current Law Index, Foster City, Calif. : Information Access Company, Jan. 1980- , monthly updating. (The printed version is located in the Reading Room, K33 .C87.)
Current Law Index is an extensive index to legal articles. All the legal articles about aliens and the law are indexed under the subjects of immigration, aliens, nationality or citizenship. The electronic version of Current Law Index (the coverage is from 1980 on) is available on WESTLAW (LRI) and LEXIS (LAWREV/LGLIND), and is called "Legal Resource Index". The library also subscribes to the web version of this index on the Internet. To access this database, go to a computer connected to the law school's LAN and point your browser to the Library's Homepage, click on the "Research Databases," “Legal Periodical Indexes”, and then "LegalTrac SearchBank."

3. Online Full-text Law Review/Journal Titles
Besides the law reviews/journals databases on Westlaw or Lexis, the Library also subscribes to two full-text law reviews/journals databases which can be accessed through the Law Library homepage at /library/pages.aspx?id=1586

2. Specialized Legal Periodicals 

  • GeorgetownImmigration Law Journal, Georgetown University Law Center 1987- , Quarterly
  • Immigration Briefings, Federal Publications Inc., 1990- , Monthly (published by West Publishing now and it is also available on Westlaw).
  • International Journal of Refugee Law (quarterly periodical on Asylum and Refugee Law edited by Guy S. Goodwin-Gill and published by Oxford University Press, 1989- .
  • Immigration and Nationality Law Review, is an internationally recognized annual law journal published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc. of New York. Created in 1976, the INLR was originally a reprint journal, serving the scholarly community as an anthology of the most seminal law review articles on immigration and nationality while including legislative summaries and a limited number of original contributions. To access it, go to the Law Library Homepage, Research Database, and choose “Hein Online.”
  • Journal of refugee studies[electronic resource], Oxford : Oxford University Press, c1988-, quarterly. Access its electronic publication via the Law School or the Washington U. network at 
  • Refugee survey quarterly, Geneva, Switzerland : UNHCR, Centre for Documentation on Refugees, [1994- ], now is published by Oxford U. Press, quarterly.
  • Interpreter Releases (Federal Publications Inc. 1987- , weekly; publication containing news of legislative, administrative, and judicial developments on U.S. immigration, nationality, asylum, and refugee law. It is also available on Westlaw.
  • Immigration and Nationality Law Review, Buffalo : W.S. Hein, 1977-. This publication compiles large amounts of law review articles on immigration issues. The first volume covers the articles published in 1976/77.
    KF4819 .A2 I42 
  • Bender Immigration Bulletin, New York, NY : Matthew Bender, [1996]-, monthly. This publication provides current coverage of all areas of immigration law. It includes informative and authoritative articles, federal cases, Board of Immigration Appeals decisions, final, interim and proposed rules, regulations, notices, and other relevant immigration information. It is also available on Lexis.

3. Text Books 

Stephen H Legomsky, Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy, Westbury, N.Y. : Foundation Press, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2005. KF4818 .L43

Gina Clayton, Textbook on Immigration and Asylum Law, Oxford University Press: 2004,  this book is about UK law on immigration and asylum. KD4134 .C63 2004 

David Weissbrodt and Laura Danielson, Immigration Law and Procedure in a Nutshell, [Eagan, MN] : Thomson/West, 2005, 5th ed.  KF4819.3 .W4 2005, on Reserve

4. Loose-leaf Services 

Immigration law and procedure / Charles Gordon, Stanley Mailman and Stephen Yale-Loehr, New York, N.Y. : M. Bender, 1988- . This multi-volume set loose-leaf service is the most significant title for immigration law practitioners. It gives in-depth discussions of immigration issues with access to federal statutes and decisions.
KF4819 .G6 1988 Location: Reserve 

5. Reference Books 

Kurzban's immigration law sourcebook : a comprehensive outline and reference tool / Ira J. Kurzban, Washington, DC : American Immigration Law Foundation, 1990- . This reference book covers quite thoroughly the entire field of American immigration law and yet manages to be concise. It provides quick access to the case law as well as to statutory and regulatory provisions.  KF4819 .K87

6. Bender's Immigration Library on Lexis 

Offering expert analysis of recent developments in U.S. immigration and nationality law as well as the latest cases and primary source materials. This library offers the following titles:
Bender's INS Regulations Service
Bender's Immigration Bulletin
INS General Counsel Opinions
INS Manuals
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996
Immigration Law And Procedure
Immigration and Nationality Act

The library subscribes to Bender's Publications on the Web. To access this database, go to a computer connected to the law school's LAN and point your browser to the Library's Homepage, click on the "Web Subscription" and then on "Matthew Bender Publications."

VIII. Immigration Resources on the Internet 

1. United Nations and US Government Websites 

News, official U.N. and UNHCR documents, refugee statistics, country information, legal information, and more.

ORR regulations, funding opportunities, and information on refugees in the U.S.

Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) Created by the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 to monitor immigration-related employment discrimination.

Visa and passport information

Information on U.S. refugee policy and refugee admissions.

 <strong>2. Not-for-Profit Organizations 

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), founded in New York in 1964, is one of the premier institutes for migration studies in the United States. It is committed to facilitating the study of demographic, historical, economic, political, legislative and pastoral aspects of human migration and refugee movements.

The Forum advocates and builds public support for public policies that welcome immigrants and refugees and that are fair and supportive to newcomers in the United States.

This site includes an index to a legal brief bank; some full-text briefs and other pleadings written by members of the National Immigration Project on issues of current interest to immigration advocates; and other information.

Since1958, the U.S. Committee for Refugees has identified those at greatest risk, given them a voice, and helped refugees get the protection and assistance they need to survive.

Forced Migration Online (FMO) provides instant access to a wide variety of online resources dealing with the situation of forced migrants worldwide.

EIN is a specialist provider of information on UK immigration and refugee law via the Internet. EIN also contains information on immigration/asylum issues and case law from the European Union and selected documents from other English-speaking jurisdictions.

Migration Dialogue provides timely, factual and nonpartisan information and analysis of international migration issues through five major activities: the newsletters Migration News and Rural Migration News, Changing Face and other Research & Seminars, and the CEME project.

3. Electronic Discussion Groups on the Internet 

The following are the major electronic discussion groups on the Internet related to immigration and international migration issues.

  • (Belgium-based Legal Aspects of Asylum and Refugee Status list; international migration law; immigration; asylum-seekers/refugees)

Send the following message to
subscribe asylum-L
(related pages at and - the Refugee and Asylum Law Page; see also StateWatch for immigration and asylum sources at

CISNEWS (Immigration Policy list operated by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.; it is for academics, policymakers, journalists, attorneys, activists and others; the list concentrates on the United States, but includes information from other countries; CISNEWS is a moderated list for announcements, news items, reviews, queries, etc.; lawyers, professors; foreign and international law; asylum and refugee law; related list is asylum-l on )

To join the list, go to: (related page is

  • (discussion on the problem of refugees and other victims of forced migration or involuntary resettlement, including those of development projects which lead to their forcible uprooting; asylum and refugee law; immigration), to subscribe to the e-mail discussion list, go to 
  • (H-Net American ethnic & immigration and emigration history; moderated list; refugees/asylum-seekers; was on )

Send the following message to

sub h-ethnic Firstname Surname, Yourschool (