Immigration and Naturalization Services

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1933–2003. Referred to by some as former INS and by others as legacy INS, the agency ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred 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 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, 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *