\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 14 Sources of Information / Conducting Research. \ 14.7 Supplemental Materials and Non-Governmental Resources. (Chapter 14.7, Revised 07-12-2005).
Previous Document Next Document
Supplemental Materials and Non-Governmental Resources.
(Chapter 14.7, Revised 07-12-2005).
A wealth of published materials exist to guide you through your immigration research. In addition to internal USCIS materials, information published for the private immigration bar is readily available and can provide significant help. Your office should have copies of the recent versions of these materials available. If not, check with the District Counsel for your USCIS office.
In order to conduct research you must have a basic understanding of the manner in which legal matters are cited. The book A Uniform System of Citation, published by The Harvard Law Review Association includes general rules of citation and style; technical rules of citation relating to cases, statutes, periodicals, and other specific forms of authority; and lists (by country and state) reporters, codes, session laws, and other sources.
Always be sure that the case law you are reading is still in effect. Later decisions often modify aspects of earlier ones and occasionally overrule them completely. One excellent source for determining whether a case is still good law is Shepard's Immigration and Naturalization Citations. This volume, commonly referred to as "Shepard's," is a comprehensive cross-reference of all immigration citations. Shepard's contains citations to relevant federal statutes and regulations, as well as all federal and s
tate case law. Shepard's is organized by citation. For example, you may find citations for immigration or naturalization decisions by looking for the statute (e.g., 8 USC 1421), a regulation, (e.g., 8 CFR PART 310 -- NATURALIZATION AUTHORITY) or a decision from the BIA (e.g., Matter of C- R-, 8 I & N Dec. 59 (BIA 1958)).
Underneath each heading, every decision, statute, or regulation mentioning that heading will be listed, again in sequential order. Codes next to each entry indicate whether the reference supports the index case, overturns it, or simply questions it. A similar index titled "Notice of Decisions Affected" is included in volumes 15 and 20 of the Interim Decisions. Hard copy volumes of Shepard's should be available in each USCIS counsel office.
Immigration Practice 2005-2006, by Robert C. Divine & R. Blake Chisam, covers all aspects of immigration law in one volume, complete with more than 3,000 footnote citations to a wide range of statutes, regulations, court and administrative cases, policy memos, operations instructions, agency interpretive letters, and internet sites.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) publishes several useful items. One of these is Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook. This reference, published annually, is a comprehensive guide to immigration law. AILA's monthly publications update its readers on the latest developments in immigration law. For example, the AILA Immigration Journal covers recent developments in greater depth and often publishes administrative decisions. (Most USCIS offices subscribe to the AILA Immigration Journal.)
Interpreter Releases is another significant source of current information relating to immigration issues. This periodical, published weekly by West Group, provides its readers with the latest developments in immigration law. It also contains information about USCIS policy and procedure and recent court cases that may aid you in performing your job. You should be able to find copies of Interpreter Releases in your local office.
Immigration Law and Procedure, commonly referred to as "Gordon and Mailman," is a comprehensive 19-volume loose-leaf treatise originally published in one volume. It reflects the increased complexities and growing importance of immigration law.
Bender's Immigration and Nationality Pamphlet is another good starting point. Many other materials contain current developments in the law. While not all of these are available in every field office, most offices have at least one copy of Bender's.
Many interim decisions address state and foreign laws (e.g., marriage laws). Consult your local district counsel for further information on state laws and the Library of Congress for information on foreign laws. Your local district counsel will also assist you with conducting additional research.
The list above of potential reference works is neither exhaustive, nor an endorsement of any particular resource.