Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S.

Dylan S. Gottlieb

In: Encyclopedia of Politics of the American West

Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S.

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  • The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was the federal government's bureau in charge of immigration policy and enforcement from its creation in 1933 to its absorption into and reorganization under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003. While Congress and the Department of Treasury oversaw immigration prior to the early twentieth century, decisions concerning naturalization—the process of becoming a U.S. citizen—fell to a patchwork of local courts. With the passage of the Basic Naturalization Act of 1906, however, Congress united immigration and naturalization control under the purview of a federal agency. After several permutations, a 1933 executive order reorganized these offices into the INS. Over the course of the next seven decades, the INS would remain at the center of political struggles over ...

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