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Immigration Law Research

Recommended research strategies and sources for immigration law.

General Secondary Sources

Immigration Law - General Secondary Sources

Secondary sources cover a variety of different materials, including legal encyclopedias, treatises, and practice materials. Legal encyclopedias provide brief introductions to a variety of issues and cite to relevant primary law. Legal treatises are an excellent resource for obtaining an in-depth discussion of specific legal issues, and they also heavily cite to primary law materials. Practice materials are geared towards the practicing attorney and provide both general overviews of the law, along with forms and sample documents.

The following are recommended secondary materials available both online and in print through the UNC Law Library.

Online Databases

UNC Law faculty and students have access to a variety of immigration law treatises through their Westlaw and Lexis subscriptions. The following resources are available via each database:


Through your Lexis+ account, you can access a variety of immigration law secondary sources, including:

(Available to UNC Law faculty and students.)


Through you Westlaw Edge account, you can access a variety of immigration law secondary sources, including:

(Available to UNC Law faculty and students.)

Print Resources at the UNC Law Library

The UNC Law Library catalog provides an overview of the various secondary materials available on immigration law issues. Visit this link to view a pre-filtered search for the immigration law subject, which highlights both print and online materials related to immigration law.

The following are a sampling of the titles available through the UNC Law Library in its print collection:

Immigration Law Service

By Anna M. Gallagher (Thomson Reuters, 2004-). This is a regularly-updated looseleaf that fully integrates the changes brought about by the abolition of the INS and the shift of that agency's functions to various agencies within the Department of Homeland Security. It contains practical guidance on a variety of immigration and naturalization situations, including issues addressed by the INA, other relevant statutes, and agency regulations/guidance.Note: This title is also available online through Westlaw.

International Immigration and Nationality Law

Ed. Dennis Campbell (Juris Pub., 2011-). This is a regularly-updated looseleaf that serves as a comprehensive resources for issues involved in international immigration and nationality law. It includes a country-by-county format and highlights laws and regulation affecting immigration and nationality questions in 42 jurisdictions.

Immigration Law and the Family

(Thomson Reuters, 2011-). This practical guide assists attorneys with family immigration applications, including instructions on how to fill out USCIS and DOS forms for each category of family immigration and forms for immigration visa applications at U.S. consulates. It also cites to and cross-references applicable statutes, regulations, USCIS and DOS international operating procedures, and agency correspondence. Note: This title is also available online through Westlaw.

Current News and Awareness

Immigration News and Current Awareness

Online Databases

Law360's Legal News & Analysis
Law360 provides access to recent legal news and expert analysis on various legal issues, including a news section dedicated to immigration law developments. This is a Lexis-owned company, so you will need to use the UNC Law Library's proxy to access the database. (Available to UNC Law faculty and students.)

Bender's Immigration Bulletin
Regularly updated service that provides notes on federal court decisions and administrative decisions, news pertaining to immigration law, agency publications and releases, and copies of new federal regulations. Available on Lexis+. (Available to UNC Law faculty and students.)

Westlaw's Immigration Practitioner Insights

Westlaw's Practitioner Insights provides links to various immigration law news sources that include legal analysis by practitioners in the field. From the Immigration Practitioner Insights page, you can choose to view the most recent updates or run your own keyword searches to identify recent legal news briefings on your topic of interest. (Available to UNC Law faculty and students.) 

Other Resources

Basic Immigration Law

By Practicing Law Institute (Practising Law Institute, 1989-). This yearly publication reflects the CLE conference hosted by PLI and contains updates on a variety of immigration law topics, including business, family, and naturalization issues. Available in print at the UNC Law Library.

Immigration Law in North Carolina

Maintained by UNC School of Government, this website provides access to immigration law materials relevant to the state of North Carolina. There are direct links to the NC Center for International Understanding and the NC Department of Health and Human Serviced, along with a direct link to Immigrants in North Carolina: A Fact Sheet, a 2010 overview on the size and composition of North Carolina's immigrant population.

Immigration Law Journals

Immigration Law Journals

Legal journals provide insight into recent, usually more complex legal issues, and they are also an excellent starting point for identifying relevant primary source material on specific issues.

HeinOnline's Law Journal Library

HeinOnline provides the most complete collection of law journals dedicated to immigration law topics. You have the option of browsing individual volumes for interesting topics, or you can run advanced keyword searches to identify articles on specific topics. (Available to UNC community.)

The Advanced Search option allows you to run keyword searches on specific topics of interest, but be sure to use the additional filters to better target your searches. For example, you can narrow by topic to those articles associated with immigration law, or you could limit your searches by date to only pull in recent articles on a topic. The following image highlights the various features available to you in the Advanced Search:

Keyword Search Builder (located in the upper, right-hand corner of the Advanced Search page) is a new feature in HeinOnline's Advanced Search that also allows you to assign different weights to your searches in the law journal database. Try using this feature if you want to directly target articles on specific legal issues using relevant key terms or phrases. 

Westlaw and Lexis Journal Databases

Both Westlaw and Lexis also provide access to legal scholarship focusing on immigration law via their databases. Both databases allow for advanced searching, so Boolean searching is particularly effective in these databases. (Available to UNC Law faculty & students.)