Immigration Law (U.S.) Research Guide

This resource provides information on locating sources of U.S. immigration law.


When you begin a research project, it is usually helpful to begin with secondary sources. Starting with secondary sources aids greatly in finding more specific information and primary sources later.  Secondary sources also provide a useful plain-language description of how the law operates in a particular area.  In addition to what you will find on this page, other secondary sources (including study aids) can be found on our Immigration Law Treatise Finder.

Lexis and Westlaw have landing pages that gather together all of their immigration-related secondary sources.

If you are in the very early stages of your research and need a quick (but not very in-depth) overview to get you oriented on the law, consider beginning with a legal encyclopedia.  The following links go to the index for each of the two major legal encyclopedias -- American Jurisprudence 2d (Am Jur 2d) and Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) -- specifically, to the entry that is given in each index for "immigration":

Treatises and Other Texts

A non-comprehensive list of immigration treatises.  Also refer to the Practice Materials section below, as many other treatises and texts are listed there.

Journal Articles

Both Lexis and Westlaw include selected immigration law journals in full text. Coverage varies by journal, but note that older materials may not be available on these platforms. We strongly recommend not limiting your journal research to only these platforms; other databases should also be included in your research plan. For more on finding journal articles, consult our Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research research guide.

Law Journal Databases

Search these databases for law reviews and legal newsletters.

Other Useful Databases

Forms and Practice Materials

A non-comprehensive list of immigration forms and practice materials.  Also refer to the Treatises section above, as many there may also be very useful for those practicing immigration law.

News & Current Awareness

Secondary Sources Research Tutorial

Includes videos covering treatises, law reviews, encyclopedias, American Law Reports (ALR), Restatements, and news sources.

Finding Books: Catalog Searching Tips

To search materials in the catalog by subject, use our Advanced Search. Select "subject" in the first drop-down box, then enter a subject heading (such as one of the ones suggested on this page) in the corresponding search box.  You can run the search alone or include additional terms in additional search boxes below.  To find books, it may help to first narrow your search to "Law Library Catalog" or "Georgetown Univ. + Local Academic Libraries" using one of the radio buttons at the top of the page.  After running a search, you can sort by "Date-newest first" on the left to put the most recent materials at the top.  You can also narrow your results to books only on the left under "Resource Type."

Subject Headings

Search the library catalog for additional titles on immigration using such subject searches as:  

  • Emmigration and immigration law -- United States
  • United States - Emigration and immigration -- government policy
  • Immigration Enforcement  -- United States
  • Immigrants -- United States