Tips for Searching on

Looking for something on Here are some helpful tips!

Where Do I Search?

You can start a keyword search by entering your text into the search box in the gray bar at the top right of every page. For more options, click on “Advanced Search” under the box.

Keyword Search

Do Use:

Keyword Search

You can search for keywords or a combination of keywords.

Phrases Using Quotes

If keyword searches are not returning what you need, try searching for a more specific phrase enclosed in quotes.

AILA Document Number

If you know the AILA Document Number, you can search for it directly as a keyword. An AILA Document Number is a unique identifier assigned to each document posted on It is always eight digits long (AILA Doc. No. XXXXXXXX), with the first six digits corresponding to the year, month, and day that the document was first posted to the website. AILA documents are tagged with the document number in several places:

  • On Recent Postings and in search results, document numbers are listed toward the end of the abstract.
  • On text pages, document numbers are listed at the bottom of the page.
  • Most PDF files contain a document number in their footer.

The “Find Alternate Word Forms” Box

On the Advanced Search page, check this box (look for it directly underneath the keyword search box) to yield results that contain all forms of the word you’ve entered. For example, searching for “adjust” with the box checked will yield results containing adjustment, adjusting, adjusted, etc.

Keyword Search


Every document posted on is assigned a type, and documents are also assigned relevant topics, if applicable. On the Advanced Search page, filter your search by topic, document type, and date-range. For example, to find official agency guidance, check off “Agencies & Liaison” or, even more specifically, “Memos & Guidance” under types. Or, to see asylum case law, check off “Asylum & Protection” under topics, and “Cases & Decisions” under types. Use the date range filter to see results from a specific time period.

Filter by Topic
Filter by Type
Filter by Date Range

A Combination of Search Techniques

Combine keyword search with filters for best results!

For example, to search for circuit court decisions for the Ninth Circuit, use keyword: CA9; select “federal court cases” under type; and select a date range. Or, to search for DOL liaison activity, use keyword: DOL; select “liaison activity” under type; and select a date range.

Additional Databases

By default, searches yield results from the InfoNet Research Library and Agora. To broaden your search, on the Advanced Search page, try selecting AILALink, Message Center, Think Immigration, American Immigration Council, or Fastcase under “Search these Locations” at the bottom of the left column.

Additional Databases

Don’t Use:

Special Characters

Anything that’s not a letter or a number (colon, hyphen) is considered a special character and is generally ignored.

Further Refining Your Search Results

Sort by Date

Search results are automatically sorted by relevancy. To see results in a chronological order, with the most recent first, select “Sort by Date” in the green bar above the search results.

Sort by Date

Manipulate Your Search

Search results on are dynamic, so you can continue to manipulate your search without having to start over. From the results list, add or remove keywords, types, topics, or adjust the date range. Simply make your adjustments and click any of the green “Apply” buttons to update your search results.

Save Your Search

The InfoNet Research Library allows you to easily save searches that you wish to run again. On the search results page click the “Save My Search” link in the green header. In the pop-up window, enter a name for this search and save it to a specific folder if you wish. All your saved searches can be found under My Research Library along with your notes and bookmarks. Additionally, your three most recent saved searches will display in a blue box to the right of your search results list.

Save Your Search

An Example

Say you frequently run searches to find court decisions for the Second Circuit:
Enter keyword: CA2
Select type: Federal Court Cases
Sort by date
Now you have Second Circuit Court decisions sorted by date. You can save this search to run it again later. Go to My Research Library to find it and run it again later.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20011406.