U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act
This document allows you to access the complete text of the United
States Immigration and Nationality Act, Title 8 of the U.S. Code (8 USC) in a
variety of ways. Hyperlinks have been embedded in the Code to permit
following cross-references between sections with a simple mouse click.
A WAIS-based full-text search engine allows you to quickly locate Code
sections by content.
Access and navigation
You can access the Code through its own
hierarchical table of contents,
a comprehensive (flat) table of contents,
index by section number, handy when you're
looking up a citation in another document.
Each section of the Code contains navigation buttons which provide
immediate access to the next and previous section, the table of
contents, the section index, the text search request form, and this
document. Below the title at the top of a section is its complete
citation in the Code, for example:
Each component in these citations is hyperlinked to the hierarchical
table of contents entry for that component of the Code, within which each
item is linked to the document that contains it. This allows you to easily
move up and down the hierarchy.
The complete Immigration and Nationality Act is more than 3.5 megabytes in
length and contains more than half a million words; printed 60 lines to
the page, it would fill more than a thousand letter-size pages.
By harnessing the
indexing and retrieval engine to the Web version of
the Code, you can search the entire Code for
words or combinations of words, navigating directly to sections that matched
the query by following a link. For example, entering "deportation and
appeal" in the query box and pressing
locates all 17 sections of the Code containing both of those words, ranked in
descending order of relevance as determined by the weighting
algorithm in freeWAIS-sf. You can compose more complex queries using
The source document for this Web server was obtained from the
U.S. House of Representatives
Office of the Law Revision Counsel, and is current up to January 19th, 2004.
English text isn't a programming language. Compiling it automatically
into hypertext is not an error-free process. The HTML version of the Code
is, as far as I know, complete and correct, containing every word in
the original ASCII document. However, the process of linking
cross-references, which provides much of the added value compared to a
printed edition of the Code, requires a large number of heuristics (or
as they used be called, kludges) which attempt to parse the text of the
statute sections of the Code and identify both the hierarchy of the
text and references within it.
The Statute parts of the Code (the actual law) are compiled into HTML
which attempts to express the hierarchy in the text by indentation.
All the other parts, such as amendment histories, transitional rules,
references in text, etc. are written to an auxiliary document pointed
to by title links in the main statute document. All the auxiliary
parts are written as "preformatted text", precisely as they appeared
in the original ASCII document.
I make absolutely no representations or warranties regarding
this document and I accept no responsibility whatsoever for any
consequences of your use of it. I've tried to be careful in
converting a huge mass of unindexed ASCII text into a live document
that's genuinely useful for research, but I'm a fallible human who
insists that other members of his species assume total responsibility
for their own actions.
And finally, as you use this document, please keep in mind that in the
Anglo-Saxon legal system, the law is not so much what is written down,
but what the courts have decided in cases. People, particularly folks
with a background in engineering or science, often assume the law can
be interpreted and manipulated like a set of axioms. It doesn't work
that way. So while there is a great deal one can learn from a
document such as the Immigration and Nationality Act, it's no
substitute for expert professional advice when you're making decisions
that affect your own fragile body. Conversely, when dealing with
experts, having access to the codified law is a good way to find out just how
expert they really are, and how accurate the advice you're getting
The complete U.S. Internal Revenue
Code is also available in this format.
Visit my home page for other documents and
software, some relevant to business,
economics, and politics.
by John Walker