The general statutory provisions of laws enacted by Congress are interpreted and implemented by regulations issued by various federal agencies. Please refer to the Finding Federal Statutes, Regulations, and Related Cases research guide for more information on locating federal regulations.
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations deals with Aliens and Nationality.
8 CFR can be found in the following:
Federal agencies first publish notices, proposed regulations, and final regulations in the Federal Register. The Federal Register can be found in the following locations:
Many federal agencies also post agency materials on their websites. See Federal Agencies within this research guide.
Executive Orders are orders or rules issued by the President to the executive branch. Executive orders are printed in the Federal Register and eventually published in Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). See above for research locations for both the Federal Register and the CFR.
Additionally, executive orders may be found in the following locations:
Many federal agencies deal with immigration. Below are a few of the relevant agencies responsible for administering and enforcing federal immigration laws.
Department of Homeland Security
After 9/11, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was eliminated and most immigration functions that had been delegated to it under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS has three primary sub-agencies that deal with immigration issues.
Department of State
The Department of State handles the issuance of visas through embassies and consulates. The Department of State also publishes the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, also known as Human Rights Reports, on its website. The agency's list of Foreign Affairs Handbooks is intended for use by U.S. consulates but can also be useful for those applying for entry from outside the United States.
Department of Justice
The Department of Justice oversees immigration court proceedings. Under the authority of the Attorney General, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) interprets and administers immigration law by conducting court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings. (See EOIR Organization Chart).
Many immigration agencies are statutorily mandated to hear and adjudicate alleged violations of the statutes and regulations they administer. Generally, there is an initial administrative hearing that may be appealed to an internal agency appeals board (e.g., the Board of Immigration Appeals). Continuing disputes may be appealed further to the United States Courts of Appeals (discussed under Cases within this research guide).
Decisions of Immigration Law Judges
Board of Immigation Appeals (BIA)
Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) (formerly Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU))
Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA)
Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO)