Skip to Main Content

Immigration Law: Executive Office of Immigration Review


The Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) is located within the US Department of Justice. It has administrative law judges who make the initial decisions.

Immigration Court decisions can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  The BIA generally issues non-precedent decisions. These apply existing law and policy to the facts of a given case. A non-precedent decision is binding on the parties involved in the case, but does not create or modify agency guidance or practice.

"Precedent decisions" are decisions selected and designated as precedent by the BIA.

Precedent decisions are legally binding on the DHS components responsible for enforcing immigration laws in all proceedings involving the same issue or issues. However, precedent decisions may be modified or overruled by:

The Attorney General
Federal Courts
Later precedent decisions
Changes in the law

 The BIA is not a federal court, but their decisions are subject to judicial review in the Federal courts.  Federal courts give greater deference to precedent decisions as well as to unpublished decisions in which the same legal reasoning of a precedent decision was followed. 


Immigration Court Hierarchy

Hierarchy for immigration agency decisions from the Department of Justice:

Lexis and Westlaw

Lexis is available on the Franklin County Law Library public access computers.

Lexis has the following Executive Office of Immigration Review decisions:

  •  Non-Precedent Decisions from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) from February 1985.

  • Precedent Decisions of the BIA  go back to 1940.

  • Decisions of the Office of Chief Admin. Hearing Officer Immigration Review Decisions (OCAHO) go back to 1988.

Accessing agency decisions on the internet

US Supreme Court