Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2006


The immigration and nationality law of the United States is complex. It is more the product of historical experience than logical design. In one memorable, often-quoted simile, the law bears "a striking resemblance" to "King Minos's labyrinth in ancient Crete." Perhaps only the internal revenue (tax) code and its voluminous regulations are more intricate. Given this complexity, we can only summarize United States migration law. The purpose of this article, as part of a transnational dialogue, is to locate the migration law of the United States within the framework of international migration law and to highlight the essential features of the United States law for comparison. We begin with an identification of the international legal framework that pertains to the United States. We then turn to the characteristics and trends of United States immigration law, concluding with a summary of the law governing the treatment of migrants residing in the United States.


Posted with permission from the American Journal of Comparative Law.