Resource Guide

Federal immigration laws not only function as a gatekeeper for the nation’s border, but they likewise determine who is an alien and the associated legal rights, duties, and obligations of aliens in the United States. While immigration is primarily a federal issue, state courts can likewise be affected by a rapid population increase, not only causing an increase in caseloads, but also the need for additional court interpreters.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.

State Court Resources

Immigrants and State Courts. The Fund for Modern Courts
This webpage offers a series of legal reference guides on the complex intersection of family court issues and federal immigration laws, policy, and enforcement. 
Martin, John A., Steven Weller, David A. Price, Angie Lederach, and Jeff Yoder. Addressing Immigration In the State Courts. (January 2009). Center for Public Policy Studies This report presents initial findings from an SJI sponsored project conducted by the Center for Public Policy Studies.  This project has four strategic priorities: (1) increasing understanding and awareness about the impacts of immigration in the state courts; (2) developing and testing state and local approaches for assessing and addressing the impact of immigration in the state courts; (3) enhancing state and local court capacity to improve court services affected by immigration; and (4) building effective national, state, and local partnerships for addressing the impact of immigration in the state courts.
2009 Immigration-Related Bills and Resolutions in the States. (April 2009). Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures, Immigrant Policy Project State laws relating to immigration have been increasing in recent years.  Between January 1 and March 31, 2009, 1040 pieces of legislation related to immigration were introduced, and 25 states enacted 35 laws and 40 resolutions. This report provides brief summaries of this 2009 legislation.
Hoskins, Robin and John A. Martin. Immigration, Cultural Competency, and the Courts – A Trial Court's Perspective.

Future Trends in State Courts. Ongoing immigration to the United States, along withincreasing home-grown demographic diversity within our society, have dramatically increased the need for courts to become more culturally competent and to address the complicated interplay among federal, state, and local immigration law, policy, and practice.

Kinoshita, Sally, and Katherine Brady. Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Court Judges. (January 2005). Immigration Legal Resource Center
Immigration Issues in Minnesota Courts. (December 2008). Minnesota Annual Judges Conference The focus of the 2008 Minnesota Judges Annual Conference was immigration issues and their effects on the Minnesota state courts.  This resource includes a summary of the issues presented at the educational sessions.
Martin, John A. and Steven Weller. Promising Strategies for Addressing the Effects of Immigration on the State Courts. (2009) Future Trends in State Courts. This article discusses how state courts throughout the nation are developing strategies to meet the challenges posed by the size, diversity, and complexity of the unprecedented numbers of both the legal permanent residents and the undocumented immigrants they must serve.
Guillen, Jose Octavio. Immigration, the California Experience, and Implications for Other State Courts. (2007) Future Trends in State Courts. This article touches on how California and other states bordering Mexico will deal with an increasing immigrant population over the next few decades. These findings suggest that a major increase in funding for interpreting and other services in courts must follow from these population changes.
US Cities Face Legal Challenges, and All 50 States Try Their Hand at Making Immigration-Related Laws. (December 2007). Article provides information about local government immigration relief laws and the legal challenges faced by local legislative bodies.

Unnacompanied Minors

ABA Resolution 119. (2018). This second edition to the Standards has been drafted to update specific provisions to address these needs as well as significant and wide-ranging changes in law and policy.
Guide for State Courts in Cases Involving Unaccompanied Immigrant Children. (2015).

This Guide provides information for state courts to address cases involving Unaccompanied Immigrant Children such as the state court findings required for the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).

Information Card: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children and the State Courts. (2015).

Center for Public Policy Studies. This card provides information on Unaccompanied Immigrant Children (UACs). This highly vulnerable population is at serious risk for abuse, neglect, and becoming victims of crime and human trafficking. 

ABA Resolution 113.

Supports government appointed counsel for unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings including state court proceedings to obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2014). Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection.

Based on a 2013 study funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, this report unveils the humanitarian impact of the situation through interviews with more than 400 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico held in US federal custody. It shows that the large majority of these children believed they would remain unsafe in their home countries and, as a result, should generally be screened for international protection needs by authorities along the way.

Slayton, David. How the Unaccompanied Minor Crisis Is Affecting the State Courts. (September 2014).

Trends in State Courts. The Administrative Director of the Courts for the Texas Office of Court Administration discusses how the dramatic increase in unaccompanied alien children entering the United States is likely to cause a rise in state court filings, especially in requests for findings for special immigrant juvenile status. 

Crossing the Border: How the Unaccompanied Minor Crisis Will Impact Your Court . This previously recorded webinar provides information on Unaccompanied Minor Children (UACs).


American Justice Through Immigrants` Eyes. (2004). ABA Commission on Immigration
Commission on Immigration.. ABA`s Division on Public Service
Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement. (March 2004). Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress
Immigrant Policy E-News. National Conference of State Legislatures
Immigration Laws, Regulations, and Guides. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Information on laws, regulations and interpretations controlling immigration and the work of the immigration-related bureaus of the Department of Homeland Security.
Immigration Policy Issues Overview. National Conference of State Legislatures
Making Immigration Law. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service The laws that govern immigration and how the are amended.

Immigration Courts

Administrative Decisions. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Board of Immigration Appeals Decisions.. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Immigration Courts. U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review These Web pages provide a state-by-state list of immigration courts. It includes court addresses, judges, court administrators, and links to the local operating procedures for immigration courts as of May 2006.