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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Immigration Law Clinic

What's In This Guide?

This guide provides summaries and links to a curated list of recommended resources for researching American immigration law and related issues, including the domestic laws and conditions of foreign countries. 

                                           Image Credit: Atarimaster

Research Steps

  1. Brainstorm and make notes. Write a list of keywords, terms of art, jurisdiction, times, known names (for example, a particular judge), etc. before ​you start searching. This pulls out some of the terms and concepts you'll want to keep in mind as you search, but also is a benchmark of your own understanding that you can refine as your research progresses.
  2. Search for secondary sources. These sources (e.g. treatises, practice manuals, and articles) are expert narrative coverage of your topic but also will cite to relevant authority like controlling statutes, regulations, and decisions. Note these authorities.
  3. Use the intelligent tools of the database to help you identify related materials and authorities.These tools include citing references (WL), headnotes, table of parallel authorities (to locate regulations from a US code cite), notes of decisions/annotations, and using the topical sections of the databases (immigration) instead of keyword searching case law broadly.
  4. Keyword search with your enhanced understanding and key terms to finalize the searching portion of your research. This will help you ensure you didn't miss something obvious, on-point, or recently released.
  5. Shepardize/KeyCite your authorities to make sure all the law you found is still good law.
  6. Now you should have a quality collection of the most pertinent materials so you can move into the legal analysis phase necessary to apply what you've found and write your argument.

See Research Strategy section of our Standout Summer Research guide for more practical research guidance including strategy and organization, especially researching regulatory issues and the overview of federal administrative law.

Immigration Law Research Guides