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Functions of USCIS and Immigration and Naturalization Services

The Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) was a part of the United States Department of Justice. This agency was authorized to manage all the issues related to immigration and naturalization. The agency aimed to protect and enforce the Naturalization laws. Later on INS was dispersed and divided into three new agencies. The three new agencies are United States Citizenship and Immigration services (USCIS), Customs Border and Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These new agencies work under the US Department of Homeland Security.

The USCIS deals with all the services related to immigration such as Green Card, naturalization and other functions. Border functions including the border patrol are handled by the CBP. Investigations and issues related to deportation are administered by ICE.

Many people still use Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in order to refer to the USCIS. But the INS does not exist. US Citizenship and Immigration Services is the name of the government agency that takes care of the American immigration and naturalization services.

The former functions of the INS are grouped under the three different agencies after the Homeland Security Act of 2002 came into law in 2003.

The INS grew during World War II and its responsibilities related to the nation’s security increased at that time. INS kept track of all undocumented immigrants, legally. They also handled clearance for people who left the United States on defense duty. The INS restricted the undocumented immigrants from receiving social security benefits and employment opportunities in the United States. Such people who came to the United States illegally were arrested and deported by the INS.

The head of the INS was the commissioner who was appointed by the President and the commissioner reported to the Attorney General in the Department of Justice. INS worked with the US Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services. This large organization had four main divisions such as programs, field operations, policy and planning, and management. These four divisions were responsible for the operation and management of the INS.

The administrative services that were previously carried out by the INS are now performed by the USCIS. United States CIS aims at overseeing lawful immigration to America. USCIS will see to that its customers are provided with accurate information related to citizenship and immigration benefits. Now there are 18,000 employees and contractors of the USCIS. They work at 250 U.S. CIS offices across the globe. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services strengthen the safety and integrity of the American immigration system and it also promotes flexible and reliable immigration policies.

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