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 http://zkrlaw.com.