This page provides information on the laws, regulations
and interpretations controlling immigration. This informations provides an overview and is not comprehensive. If you should
have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
are many sources of law governing immigration. First among these is the United States Constitution. A main source of immigration
law is statutes (laws, public laws) enacted by Congress. Most of the laws affecting immigration are contained in the Immigration
and Nationality Act, often referred to as "the Act" or simply as the "INA." Although the provisions (terms) of most statutes
affecting immigration are reflected in the INA, many are not codified in the INA and must be found in the original legislation
in which they were enacted.
Statutes usually provide broad authority and apply to general situations. Agencies must
take the general provisions of the statute and apply them to specific, detailed situations. The INS regulations serve this
purpose. There are immigration laws that involve other agencies in addition to the INS. For example, both the Department of
Labor and Department of State are involved in the administration of the immigration laws. You can find these additional regulations
here (Other Immigration CFRs).
One source of legal interpretations of immigration laws and regulations are administrative
decisions. The Board of Immigration Appeals is a separate agency within the Department of Justice that reviews immigration
cases and issues appellate administrative decisions that are binding on the INS nationwide.
Once Congress passes a
law, rules or regulations are developed by an agency. These rules/regulations describe how the agency will implement the law.
"Rules" and "regulations" mean the same thing. The Office of the Federal Register is the official government entity responsible
for publishing all agency rules and regulations. INS rules/regulations are primarily found in Title 8 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (8 CFR).
Regulatory documents can amend, or propose to amend, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) by
adding new language (text), revising or removing existing language, or by correcting existing language.
of the Immigration and Naturalization Service is delegated responsibility by the Attorney General to develop and publish changes
to US immigration rules and regulations found in 8 CFR. The Commissioner may prescribe rules and regulations as necessary
or appropriate to carry out the functions of the INS. These rules and regulations are subject to the Administrative Procedures
Act (5 U.S.C. 553). It is not necessary for every provision of law to be interpreted or implemented by a federal regulation.
Notices, Rules and Regulations
Proposed rules. These are documents published in the Federal Register that propose changes
to an Agency's regulations in the CFR and request public comments on those suggested changes. In compliance with the Administrative
Procedures Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), most documents should be published first as proposed rules.
Interim rules. Usually
an Agency will issue an interim rule if there is a statutory or emergency requirement to issue regulations immediately. Interim
rules are documents that have the same legal effect as final rules in that they amend the CFR and give an effective date.
Even though there is an effective date for the interim rule, INS often asks for public comments. After the comment period
expires, INS amends the interim rule by issuing a final rule.
Final rules. Final rules are documents that formally
change/amend the CFR by adding, revising, or removing language/text, sections, or whole parts of the existing regulations.
Public comments submitted in response to a Proposed or Interim rule may lead to the INS' modification of its final regulations.
A regulatory document that amends the CFR text must publish each change to the CFR in full and state the effective date for
Notices are documents published in the Federal Register that discuss or explain matters of general concern
to the public and are published for public information. Typical notice documents announce meetings and application submission
dates. Notices do not amend the CFR.