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U.S. Immigration Law Research Guide: Administrative Decisions

This research guide provides an overview of pertinent resources for the Immigrant Advocacy Concentration at Loyola Law School and immigration law practice generally.

Board of Immigration Appeals, Attorney General, and INS Decisions

Administrative Decisions Under Immigration & Nationality Laws (I. & N. Dec.) is the official publication for immigration-related decisions of the the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), Attorney General, and former INS decisions selected as precedent. As such, it is the most commonly cited publication for administrative decisions in immigration matters.

Administrative hearing decisions published in this work are cited in the following format:

Example: Matter of Hashmi, 24 I. & N. Dec. 785 (B.I.A. 2009).

I. & N. Dec. can be found online and in print:

Not all BIA decisions are published in I. & N. Dec. Most BIA decisions are not designated as precedent and are not published in I. & N. Dec. 

Lexis and Westlaw provide searching of both precedent decisions published in I. & N. Dec. and non-precedent decisions not published in I. & N. Dec.:

The BIA used to designate certain unpublished decisions as "indexed decisions" and post those decisions to the Department of Justice website. Indexed decisions are not precedential but have "value as a general guide to particular areas of law or fact patterns."

In recent years, the BIA has not designated decisions as indexed and has removed the indexed decisions from the Department of Justice website. However, indexed decisions formerly posted to the website remain available through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine:

Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) Decisions

The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) hears cases related to the employment of immigrants. Its decisions are officially published in Administrative Decisions under Employer Sanctions, Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices and Civil Penalty Document Fraud Laws of the United States and are available online and in print:

Decisions of Immigration Judges

Although decisions of immigration judges are not precedential, and as such, are not published in any specific reporter, summaries of decisions are included in Interpreter Releases, available online and in print: