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Immigration & Asylum Resources: Administrative Decisions


The law library has a limited user subscription to AILALink, an online research platform created and maintained by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILALink includes immigration statutes and regulations, case law, agency decisions and guidance documents, government manuals and AILA-produced reports and materials. It also provides access to AILA's secondary sources including Kurzban's Immigration Law Source Book and the AILA's Asylum Primer among many others. For more information, please contact 

Immigration Courts

Adjudicates individual immigration cases, primarily removal cases (that is, cases where the court determines whether aliens charged with violating immigration law should be removed from the U.S.), but also other types of cases, including certain exclusion and asylum cases.

EOIR Immigration Court Directory.

EOIR court locationsImage source: US GAO

Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO)

Hears primarily immigration-related employment cases, such as employer sanction cases and document fraud cases. For a full description of jurisdiction and an explanation of the appeals process or lack thereof, see Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook, Chapter 9 Section XI.

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA)

Hears appeals of certain labor certification denials. For jurisdiction information, please see Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook, Chapter 9 Section X.

Disciplined Practitioners Decisions

Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)

Conducts appeals from immigration court decisions and appeals from some types of decisions made by DHS District Directors. There are three categories of BIA decisions:

  • Precedent decisions: Precedent decisions are officially published by the BIA and are binding on DHS employees and immigration courts.
  • Indexed decisions: Indexed decisions are those that the BIA selects as having "value as a general guide to particular areas of law or fact patterns." (EOIR Web-site) Indexed decisions aren't precedential in nature and aren't officially published by the BIA.
  • Unpublished decisions: Unpublished decisions aren't precedential in nature and are considered "cumulative, factual, or self-evident." (Immigration Law & Procedure: Practice and Strategy)

For a discussion of BIA's jurisdiction, please see Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook Chapter 9, Section I.

USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)

Hears appeals from decisions made by DHS officers on many types of immigration petitions and applications. According to immigration regulations, the AAO can issue precedent and non-precedent decisions. However, as of 2005, the AAO hadn't issued any precedent decisions  since 1998. Moreover, starting in 2005, the AAO began to designate certain decisions "adopted decisions"--that is, decisions that DHS officers should follow in proceedings involving similar issues. Further, AAO began to designate certain decisions "unreported." While not entirely clear, "unreported" decisions appear to be non-precedent decisions.

For a description of the AAO's jurisdiction, please see Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook, Chapter 9 Section IX. 

Combined Databases

Westlaw also offers a database that compiles various types of administrative decisions involving immigration: