May 15, 2020 Update: received today a DVD with what the EOIR says is the entire benchbook (the thing they put online last year in response to our FOIA was incomplete). The .zip file is here.

April 14, 2018 Update: In response to our FOIA (and following having to appeal an earlier incomplete production), parts of the old Benchbook are now back online and is at this address:

That’s a link to the zip file. You can download and save it. I’m still examining whether anything else is missing. If you see that anything else is missing there, please let me know.


The Immigration Judge benchbook has gone missing from the internet. At least, it’s gone missing from the Department of Justice’s website. That creates two parallel problems.

First, we need a clear record of what the benchbook said in the past, because we’re often litigating immigration court cases on appeal years after the IJ made the decision and we need to see what guidance was available at the time.

Second, we need to know what the current benchbook says, as we assume the Department of Justice will keep updating it. If you’re looking for the current benchbook, I’ve been trying to get a copy via FOIA requests and have been posting what I’ve received here:

This post is about reconstructing the old benchbook from resources still online.

Thankfully, most of the old benchbook is still available on Using the last snapshot of the Benchbook from May, 2017, it is possible to reconstruct it. Here is my best reconstruction of the old Benchbook, using the original outline format. Where the links are broken, I’ve removed them and will update them when I get further responses to my FOIA requests.





Checklists, Worksheets & Forms

Introductory Guides

Sample Orders

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Westlaw & LexisNexis

Virtual Law Library

“Fundamentals” Outline

2d Circuit

3d Circuit

9th Circuit

Circuit Resources

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Creation of a Benchbook Advisory

As a part of the continuing efforts to make the Immigration Judge Benchbook more functional and user friendly, a Benchbook Advisory will be posted to the Benchbook to keep you apprised of changes that impact our work. These advisories will be written by sitting Immigration Judges as well as by attorneys within EOIR and contain analysis of a particular case or topic.