Immigration and Naturalization Service: United
By: John Stuart Smith|LRL Writer
In the 18th and 19th century, many immigrants crossed the
borders freely and stayed for a long time in the country without following federal immigration and
naturalization policies. It was in 1875, after the civil war, that the government established an Office of the
Superintendent of Immigration within the Treasury Department. Later in 1933, the Bureau of Immigration
inflated into the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. This process helped and controlled the immigrant
to become US citizen, dealt with the issue of illegal entrance into the country and checked and detained the
individuals staying illegally in the country.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of the United States
handled the legal, illegal immigration and naturalization and was a part of the United States Department of
Justice. The INS service came to an end on March 1, 2003 and its job was segregated in three agencies, within the
newly created Department of Homeland Security in March 2003. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
(BCIS) took the charge of administration of immigration services, naturalization, permanent residence, asylum, etc.
Its name was further changed to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which continues with the same
name till date.
The other two functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service include the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The ICE took over the job
of U.S. Customs investigators, the Federal Air Marshal Service, investigative and enforcement functions and the
Federal Protective Service. The CBP took on the border functions of the INS that consists of the Border Patrol
along with INS Inspectors and U.S. Customs Inspectors. The US government has thus converted it into an Immigration
and Nationality Act (INA) which helps the foreign national in attaining the US citizenship after he/she fulfils the
The hierarchy of the Immigration and Naturalization Service was headed by a commissioner
whose duty included reporting the events to the Attorney General in the Department of Justice. The INS was a large
and complex organization that divided its work into four parts that included field operations, programs, policy and
planning, and management. While the field and operations dealt with the operations part, job like arrest,
detaining, and deportation of illegal immigrants was checked by the programs division. The field operation also
kept a check on 33 districts and 21 border areas all through the country.
While naturalization helps an individual to gain citizenship of a country of which he/she
is not a native, immigration refers to the arrival of a new individual in a country's habitat. This process is very
different from the emigration and migration and is a biological concept. Both the processes are thus covered in the
Immigration and Naturalization Service Act by the government of United States. The aim of the act
is thus to control the number of people entering the country and also prevents the receipt of benefits such as
social security or unemployment without making pressure on the country's economy, services and
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