Skip to Main Content

Immigration Law: Criminal Law and Immigration

After the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 after the September 11 attacks, the enforcement of immigration laws was transferred from the Immigration and Naturalization Service(INS) to the Department of Homeland Security.

Journal Articles

To find law journal and law review articles discussing the intersection of criminal law and immigration law, use one of the following resources available via a link from the Law Library's Research Databases page:

  • Current Index to Legal Periodicals
  • Index to Legal Periodicals
  • LegalTrac
  • HeinOnline's Law Journal Library


HeinOnline, Lexis and Westlaw have selective full-text coverage of law review and law journal articles.

Example article:  César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, The Life of Crimmigration Law92 DENV. U. L. REV. 697 (2015)

Primary Sources

Research on this topic concentrates mainly on Title 8 (Aliens and Nationality) of the United States Code, Title (Aliens and Nationality) of the Code of Federal Regulations and various states' criminal laws.

This guide's primary sources page gives several recommendations on accessing primary sources in immigration law.  For tips on researching state law, see the State Law Research Guide.  

Cases and Statutes

Access cases and statutes on Westlaw NextLexis Advance, or Bloomberg Law.  You have the option of searching by keyword (try some of the examples on this page), or typing in a citation to go directly to a known case or statute.

  • Example:  Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), codified at various sections of 8 U.S.C.

Pending Legislation

Westlaw Next:  Go to Browse > All Content > Proposed & Enacted Legislation.  Then select your jurisdiction or topic.

Lexis Advance:  Go to Explore Content > Content Type > Statutes & Legislation > Bill Tracking.  Then select your jurisdiction or topic.

Selected Websites and Databases

The following is a non-exhaustive list of databases to which the law library subscribes, along with websites for selected groups, each with examples of tools useful for research.



This database from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a fully searchable, web-based immigration law library filled authoritative resources useful to the practice of immigration law.  It provides access to statutes, regulations, cases, AILA publications (including Kurzban's sourcebook), and nearly 200 immigration forms.  Access is restricted to current NUSL students, faculty and staff.

See, for example, the book Immigration Law and the Criminal Client (2014)

Lexis Advance


Westlaw Next



The American Immigration Council "works to strengthen America by honoring our immigrant history and shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration" through policy advocacy, litigation, research, communications, and education.

The Pew Research Center, a "nonpartisan fact tank", produces demographic and social science research on immigration (among other topics). See here for reports on crime and immigration.

The United States Sentencing Commission publishes a manual on sentencing guidelines.  Each state has its own sentencing guidelines, usually on the judicial branch's website.  See, for example, Arizona's Criminal Code Sentencing Charts. 


Try some of the following keywords or terms in your searches:

Immigration; emigration; alien criminals; deportation; immigration enforcement; criminal justice, sentencing, post-conviction relief