Anyone visiting United States for the first time generally has some plans in mind to gain permanent residence or citizenship in USA. There are several requirements, which should be fulfilled in order to become a permanent resident or citizen of USA.
To provide services to the immigrants, the government of United States had established a separate department, United States Immigration and Naturalization Services – the government INS. The task of this department was to facilitate and provide information and services relating to Immigration and Naturalization and enumerate all the legal processes involved.
The department of government INS was established in 1933. It was formed by the amalgamation of two departments that were earlier involved in the same tasks on individual capacities. After 2003, this department came under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security. The government INS was divided into US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). USCIS is in charge of immigration service functions.
The process of immigration and naturalization is carried out under USCIS. The main purpose of this department is to verify the eligibility and grant legal status under various categories for the immigrants, either as nonimmigrants, permanent residents or citizens of United States.
To avail the government INS services, immigrants have to comply with the eligibility requirements, details of which can be found on the official website of the USCIS. The requirements differ for each visa category and also for citizenship.
Responsibilities of the INS
Though the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization were consolidated to form the INS, there was a significant reduction in the INS’s work force. Immigration numbers dropped in the 1930s and the agency had more work with the deportation of illegal aliens, and a lot of repatriation in the later years.
Immigration began to be looked at as a security issue rather than an economic issue and therefore was moved to the Department of Justice from the Department of Labor. The government INS witnessed rapid growth during World War II as its responsibilities in relation to the security of the nation increased.
INS had to keep track of all aliens legally within the country as well as the enemy aliens. They also had to handle clearance for persons leaving on defense duty and arriving for agricultural work, which was needed because the Americans were leaving to take part in the war. INS installed a new system for record keeping, increased its work force and brought about the implementation of the Nationality Act of 1940.
The government INS also instituted various immigration Acts to help address the post-war situations. It focused on the increasing number of illegal aliens living and working in the country and on deportation of persons involved in organized crime, illegal activities and communism.
The government INS put into place the preference system to help family members of immigrants reunite. It was also looking at attracting a qualified work force to the nation. One of its other responsibilities was to bring in a policy regarding the admittance of refugees.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 gave the INS the additional responsibility of tracking and handling people working without documents and employers who employed these undocumented persons. INS was also expected to administer the process under the same act which allowed certain illegal aliens to legalize their status.
The government INS was involved in providing temporary and permanent immigration benefits to persons entering the US. INS was responsible in the immigration checks at ports of entry and admittance of eligible immigrants. It also administered other benefits like green card status and naturalization for those who were interested and qualified for the same. INS was also more involved in tracking and removing undocumented persons entering the US and also removing those who overstayed or violated conditions of their stay.