As a citizen of
Columbus New Mexico (A port of entry border
town with Mexico) I can tell you that border
security has been tremendously beefed up. In
just a little over 2 years we have seen the tide
change from illegal's literally walking through
our town everyday, to virtually no sign of them
I'm also married to
a Mexican citizen. I can further tell you that
the process of getting my wife her residency is
a bit of a muddle, but with patience and the
understanding that in these parts the
Immigration and Naturalization agency has their
hands full, I feel the task will be accomplished
in relatively short order.
The biggest concern
we have is the potential spill over of the
violence going with the drug cartels in Mexico.
This is also the biggest danger to our Border
Patrol officers. My hats off to them for putting
their lives on the line to protect our American
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 is 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.
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. The Immigration Act of
1891 established an Office of the
Superintendent of Immigration within the Treasury
Department. 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.
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
President Franklin Roosevelt moved the INS from the
Department of Labor to the Department of Justice in
In November 1979, Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti
announced that INS raids would only take place at places
of work, not at residences where illegal immigrants were
suspected to live.
Immigration and Naturalization Service
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) was a part of the United States Department of
Justice and handled legal and illegal immigration and
naturalization. It ceased to exist on March 1, 2003.
Most of its functions were transferred to three new
agencies within the newly created Department of Homeland
Security in March 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 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).
INS 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.
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
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