Immigration and Naturalization Service

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U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
US-ImmigrationAndNaturalizationService-Seal.svg
Seal of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
Flag of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.png
Flag of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
Agency overview
FormedJune 10, 1933[1]
DissolvedMarch 1, 2003
Superseding agencyU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
JurisdictionUnited States federal government
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
Parent agencyDepartment of Justice
Websitewww.uscis.gov
 
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U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
US-ImmigrationAndNaturalizationService-Seal.svg
Seal of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
Flag of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.png
Flag of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
Agency overview
FormedJune 10, 1933[1]
DissolvedMarch 1, 2003
Superseding agencyU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
JurisdictionUnited States federal government
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
Parent agencyDepartment of Justice
Websitewww.uscis.gov
Old INS building in Seattle, WA

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), referred to by some as former INS and by others as legacy INS,[2] ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred from the Department of Justice to three new entities – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – within the newly created Department of Homeland Security, as part of a major government reorganization following the September 11 attacks of 2001.

INS was established on June 10, 1933, by a[clarification needed] merger to administer matters related to established immigration and naturalization policy. After 1890, the Federal government, rather than the individual states, regulated immigration into the United States,[3] and the Immigration Act of 1891 established a Commissioner of Immigration in the Treasury Department. Over the years, these matters were later transferred to the purview of the United States Department of Commerce and Labor after 1903, the Department of Labor after 1913, and the Department of Justice after 1940.

In 2003 the administration of immigration services, including permanent residence, naturalization, asylum, and other functions became the responsibility of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), which existed only for a short time before changing to its current name, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The investigative and enforcement functions (including investigations, deportation, and intelligence) were combined with INS and U.S. Customs investigators, the Federal Protective Service, and the Federal Air Marshal Service, to create U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The border functions of the INS, which included the Border Patrol along with INS Inspectors, were combined with U.S. Customs Inspectors into the newly created U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The 2000 documentary Well-Founded Fear provided the first and only time a film crew was privy to a behind-the-scenes look at the INS asylum process in the U.S.

Mission[edit]

INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) protected and enforced the laws of naturalization, the process by which a foreign-born person becomes a citizen. The INS also tackled illegal entrance into the United States, preventing receipt of benefits such as social security or unemployment by those ineligible to receive them, and investigated, detained, and deported those illegally living in the United States.

Structure[edit]

At the head of the INS was a commissioner appointed by the President who reported to the Attorney General in the Department of Justice. The INS worked closely with the United Nations, the Department of State, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The INS was a very large and complex organization that had four main divisions—Programs, Field Operations, Policy and Planning, and Management—that were responsible for operations and management.

The operational functions of the INS included the Programs and Field Operations divisions. The Programs division was responsible for handling all the functions involved with enforcement and examinations, including the arrest, detaining, and deportation of illegal immigrants as well as controlling illegal and legal entry.

The Field Operations division was responsible for overseeing INS' many offices operating throughout the country and the world. The Field Operations division implemented policies and handled tasks for its three regional offices, which in turn oversaw 33 districts and 21 border areas throughout the country. Internationally, the Field Operations division oversaw the Headquarters Office of International Affairs which in turn oversaw 16 offices outside the country.

Managerial functions of the INS included the Policy and Planning and Management divisions. The Office of Policy and Planning coordinated all information for the INS and communicated with other cooperating government agencies and the public. The office was divided into three areas: the Policy Division; the Planning Division; and the Evaluation and Research Center. The second managerial division, called the Management division, was responsible for maintaining the overall mission of the INS throughout its many offices and providing administrative services to these offices. These duties were handled by the offices of Information Resources Management, Finance, Human Resources and Administration, and Equal Employment Opportunity.

History[edit]

Immigrant Inspectors, circa 1924

Shortly after the U.S. Civil War, some states started to pass their own immigration laws, which prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in 1875 that immigration was a federal responsibility.[4] The Immigration Act of 1891 established an Office of the Superintendent of Immigration within the Treasury Department.[5] This office was responsible for admitting, rejecting, and processing all immigrants seeking admission to the United States and for implementing national immigration policy. 'Immigrant Inspectors', as they were called then, were stationed at major U.S. ports of entry collecting manifests of arriving passengers. Its largest station was located on Ellis Island in New York harbor. Among other things, a 'head tax' of fifty cents was collected on each immigrant.

Paralleling some current immigration concerns, in the early 1900s Congress's primary interest in immigration was to protect American workers and wages: the reason it had become a federal concern in the first place. This made immigration more a matter of commerce than revenue. In 1903, Congress transferred the Bureau of Immigration to the newly created (now-defunct) Department of Commerce and Labor, and on June 10, 1933 the agency was established as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.[1]

After World War I, Congress attempted to stem the flow of immigrants, still mainly coming from Europe, by passing a law in 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924 limiting the number of newcomers by assigning a quota to each nationality based upon its representation in previous U.S. Census figures. Each year, the U.S. State Department issued a limited number of visas; only those immigrants who could present valid visas were permitted entry.

There were a number of predecessor agencies to INS between 1891 and 1933. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was formed in 1933 by a merger of the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization.[5]

Both those Bureaus, as well as the newly created INS, were controlled by the Department of Labor. President Franklin Roosevelt moved the INS from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice in 1940.[5]

In November 1979, Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti announced that INS "raids" would only take place at places of work, not at residences where illegal aliens were suspected of living.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service". National Archives and Records Administration. Originally published 1995. Retrieved July 15, 2010. "Established: In the Department of Labor by EO 6166, June 10, 1933.)" 
  2. ^ What's correct, the term legacy INS or the term the former INS?
  3. ^ Ellis Island, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior
  4. ^ Chy Lung v. Freeman
  5. ^ a b c Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, National Archives. Accessed July 15, 2010
  6. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 271. ISBN 0-465-04195-7. 

External links[edit]

Opinions and experiences with the INS[edit]