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Immigration Law Research Guide: 4. Case Law

Provides general and specialized sources for researching U.S. immigration law, including online government resources, statutes, regulations & case law, plus general and specialized secondary sources and immigration-related organizations.

U.S. Courts of Appeal

Decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO), and the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) may be appealed to the U.S. Courts of Appeal.


Online Resources:



U.S. Courts: The Federal Judiciary.  Includes U.S. Courts Directory and Circuit Map (scroll up), with links to the various circuits.


Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Includes California): The Ninth Circuit website includes recent cases, status of pending en banc cases, and an archive of cases going back to 1995.  The site states that "opinions appear on this site by 10:00 a.m. PT on the day of release."  The opinions are classified by Case Type; immigration cases are classified as "Agency."  The site also includes the American Immigration Law Foundation Practice Advisory "How to File an Immigration Petition for Review" and a detailed Immigration Outline, (see "Guides and Legal Outlines") and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) and local circuit rules (access the rules here.) 


GENFED;USAPP, and individual files for each circuit, e.g., 1CIR, 2CIR, etc. (coverage varies by database.) Ninth Circuit: GENFED;9CIR. *See also Immigration Cases under the Immigration menu: IMMIG;COURTS (Federal Immigration Cases) and IMMIG;CASES (Federal Immigration Cases & Agency Decisions.)


CTA (1891- ); CTA-OLD (1891-1944) and databases for individual circuits, e.g., CTA1, CTA2, etc. (coverage varies by database.) Ninth Circuit: CTA9. *See also Immigration Cases under the Immigration menu: FIM-CS (Federal Immigration Cases) and IM-CS (State & Federal Immigration Cases.)



Print Resources:

Federal Reporter.  Collects cases decided by the U.S. Courts of Appeal.

Library: KF 105 .F42 (Main Reading Room)