Created in 1933, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was an agency housed within the U.S. Department of Justice until it was reconfigured following the attacks of September 11, 2001, as the Department of Homeland Security. Its functions are divided between the following three agencies: (1) the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), (2) the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and (3) the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This entry reviews the history of immigration as well as the INS’s duties before and after its reconfiguration.


Before 1900, the United States essentially had an open-door immigration policy. The first agency tasked with issues related to immigration enforcement and policy was created in 1864. During that time, immigration was highly encouraged. In fact, ...

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