Topic Indexes

Our “Topic Indexes” section contains a collection of index articles on subject. Each article in this section contains an index of material we have on a specific subject along with links to the corresponding full articles. This serves as a new way to conveniently find information on our website.

Comprehensive List of Articles on Attorney General and BIA Precedent Decisions

Attorney General and Board of Immigration Appeals administrative precedent decisions play an important role in our system of immigration laws. The first precedent decision, Matter of L, 1 I&N Dec. 1 (BIA 1940), was published on August 29, 1940. Nearly 77 years of precedent decisions are now collected in 27 volumes. Here at, we have a growing collection of dedicated articles on published decisions, including every decision going back to the middle of 2015. In this post, we will keep a running list of all of our dedicated articles on precedent decisions. The decisions are organized by topic with short descriptions and links to the associated articles.

Different Types of AAO Decisions

The highest administrative review body in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The AAO has jurisdiction to review many types of appeals of denials of USCIS benefit requests. In this article, we will examine the different types of decisions that the AAO can issue.

Overview of New ACWIA/AC21 Regulations (Effective Jan. 17, 2017)

On November 18, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published a new final rule in the Federal Register (FR) titled “Retention of EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers,” (see 81 FR 82398). The rule came into effect on January 17, 2017. In this article, we will provide an overview of the contents of the final rule with links to articles that go into more detail on its contents.

Series of Articles on Determining Divisibility and the Matter of Chairez

On September 28, 2016, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued an important precedent decision titled the Matter of Chairez, 26 I&N Dec. 819 (BIA 2016) (“Chairez III”). The Board set forth new rules for determining when a criminal statute may be considered “divisible” for purposes of applying the modified categorical approach that are in accord with the Supreme Court decisions in Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 and Mathis v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). On April 24, 2017, the Board clarified when adjudicators may look at an alien’s record of conviction when employing the categorical approach in the Matter of Chairez, 27 I&N Dec. 21 (BIA 2017) (“Chairez IV”). In this post, I examine the decision, the history of the case, and provide links to our detailed articles on the issues.

Overview of Two Kelly Memoranda on Implementing President Trump's Executive Orders

On February 20, 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, issued two Memoranda that provide Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers with authoritative guidance on the implementation of two immigration Executive Orders (EOs) issued by President Donald Trump on January 25, 2017. The Memoranda provide clarification on how the DHS will put President Trump’s immigration orders into practical effect. In this article, we will provide a brief overview of the Memoranda and the related EOs. In the final section of the article, we will provide a list of links to our comprehensive articles covering the key points of each Memorandum relating to new immigration policies.

Introduction to Series of Articles on "Economic Persecution" Decisions

In order to qualify for asylum, an alien must have been persecuted or have a reasonable fear of persecution in his or her home country on one of five protected grounds. In order for an alien to qualify for withholding of removal, his or her life or freedom must be threatened in his or her home country on one of the same five protected grounds. One way in which an alien may be “persecuted” is through “economic deprivation.” In this article, we will provide a brief overview of the different standards on for economic persecution and then provide links to our full articles examining specific Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and Federal appellate court decisions.

2016 in Review - Administrative Precedent Decisions (Part 1)

2016 saw the publication of 28 new precedent decisions that will help shape immigration law across a variety of areas going forward. In order to stay on top of the latest developments in immigration law, we worked diligently to publish articles on the 28 precedent decisions and four adopted decisions as they were published in 2016. In this article, we will provide brief summaries of each of the first fourteen precedent decisions along with links to their corresponding articles. In the conclusion, we will highlight a few of the decisions that should have broad importance going forward.

2016 In Review - Administrative Precedent Decisions (Part 2)

In 2016, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the Attorney General, and the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) combined to produce 28 immigration precedent decisions. With 2016 having come to a close, and 2017 promising to be a significant year in immigration law, we felt that it would be a good time to reflect on the year that was in new administrative precedents. In this article, we will examine the latter 14 immigration precedent decisions issued in 2016. We will provide brief summaries of each decision along with links to the corresponding full articles. In the conclusion, we will highlight the most important of these decisions for immigration law going forward.

2016 In Review - Adopted Decisions

In 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designated four decisions of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) as “adopted decisions.” An adopted decision constitutes binding policy on the USCIS and all of its employees. In this article, we will review each of these decisions and provide brief summaries along with links to the corresponding articles.