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U.S. Immigration Law Research Guide: Federal Statutes

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

About Federal Statutes

What Are Federal Statutes?

Federal statutes are laws enacted by Congress.

How Are Federal Statutes Published?

Federal statutes are first published as individual acts (also called public laws or slip laws). Later, they are organized by date in the Statutes at Large (Stat.) and then by subject area in the United States Code (USC.) 

Where Are Immigration Statutes Located?

Most immigration statutes are part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), located within Title 8 (Aliens and Nationality) of the USC at 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101-1178. For example, INA § 212 (The 212th section of the Immigration and Nationality Act) is located at 8 U.S.C. § 1192 (The 1192nd section of Title 8 of the United States Code.)

United States Code Online and in Print

The U.S. Government Publishing Office publishes the official United States Code (USC), Lexis publishes its own unofficial United States Code Service (USCS), and Westlaw publishes its own unofficial United States Code Annotated (USCA.)

The text of all three versions is almost always the same but both Lexis and Westlaw each add their own unique annotations- links to relevant cases, regulations, and secondary sources, located at the end of the statute on Lexis and in print and under the Notes of Decision and Context & Analysis tabs on Westlaw.

Rains Library provides access to all three versions in multiple formats:

Compilations of Immigration Statutes Online and in Print

You can also find applicable statutes by searching within databases that contain only statutes relating to immigration:

Some publishers have issued one-volume compilations of U.S. immigration statutes and regulations:

Finding Immigration Statutes by Popular Name

If you know the location of a statute in the original act (such as INA § 212) and would like to identify where the statute is located in the USC, you can identify where the act is located using a Popular Names Table, found at the end of the USC, USCA, and USCS in print and available online at:

In addition to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) other commonly cited U.S. immigration statutes are:

  • Immigration Act of 1990
  • Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)
  • Homeland Security Act

Citing Immigration Statutes

The Bluebook requires citation to the USC where possible. In many immigration sources, the Immigration & Nationality Act is provided as a parallel citation with the USC citation.

Example:

INA § 212(a)(5)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1192(a)(5)(A).