U.S. Immigration _ Naturalization Service History

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U.S. Immigration _ Naturalization Service History Powered By Docstoc
					The Department of Homeland Security was not always the department that was in
charge of immigration. Before this the United States had a department that was called
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). INS was a branch of the government
that was formally started in 1903.
  INS was an important branch in that it was in charge of and handled legal and illegal
immigration and naturalization. The program ended on March 1, 2003. The concept
and function of the program itself did not end but was transferred to three new
agencies within what is now called Department of Homeland Security.
  With the absorption of INS, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) divided
the enforcement and service functions of the agencies into: 1. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement 2. Citizen and Immigration Services.
  To understand the history of United States immigration is to understand its various
departments, including INS - how it started and why it ended.
  People have been immigrating to other countries and places since the beginning of
time. With immigration, countries create rules and regulations. For the United States,
the crack down on immigration started after the Civil Wars. Back then, some
individual states were passing their own immigration laws. With this, the U.S.
Supreme Court ruled in 1875 that immigration would now be a federal responsibility.
By 1891 The Immigration Act was passed. The act would be the foundation for the
creation of the Bureau of Immigration, whose employees where responsible for
admitting, rejecting and processing all immigrants seeking admission to the United
States and for implementing national immigration policy.
  The bureau stationed 'Immigrant Inspectors', at ports so that they could collect
manifests of arriving passengers. One of the largest ports for immigration at the time
was located on Ellis Island in New York harbor. These inspectors also enforced what
was called, a 'head tax' of fifty cents, which was collected on each immigrant.
  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.
  Prior to 1933, immigrants flowed into the United States at regular intervals. The
Immigration Service saw an unprecedented rise in immigration which spurred
Congress to continue strengthening national immigration laws. The Immigration Act
of 1907 was passed and a Presidential Commission was sent to investigate the causes
of this massive emigration out of Southern and Eastern Europe. The commission also
studied conditions among immigrants in the United States. This in turn led to the
Immigration Act of 1917, which required that immigrants be able to read and write in
their native language. Literacy tests were then issued.
  People continued to seek citizenship in America after World War I, immigration. The
Immigration Act of 1924 was then passed. This act limited newcomers through the
assignment of a quota to each nationality based upon its representation in previous
U.S. Census figures. The State Department additionally distributed a limited number
of visas each year. With the severity of restricting immigration came the rise in illegal
immigration and entries along land borders.
  In 1924, Congress created the U.S. Border Patrol, under the Immigration Service.
Meanwhile, citizenship programs were being established for those legally entering the
United States. These programs included textbooks, classes and education
opportunities. An implementation of Federal naturalization policies was also put into
place. By 1930, immigration volume dropped significantly. Immigration seemingly
became an issue of national security and INS was moved from the Department of
Labor to the Department of Justice in the 40s.
  Many more changes would follow before Congress made the decision to end INS in
2003 and create the Department of Homeland Security into what it is today. Whether
this will change in the future or remain the same is difficult to tell as the history of
law and immigration has always changed throughout time within the United States.
  Attorney Rizvi is a Houston immigration lawyer. She provides legal assistance in a
variety a fields, including immigration & nationality law, wills & estate planning and
business transactions. For more information please visit