Immigration and Naturalization Service: Restructuring Proposals in the 107th Congress [Updated July 30, 2002]   [open pdf - 101KB]

"The events of September 11 brought the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to the forefront of the nation's attention. Although all 19 hijackers entered the country legally, three overstayed their visas. And, on March 11, 2002, INS sent student visa notifications for two of the (now deceased) 19 hijackers to the aviation school they attended, provoking an intensification of long-standing criticism of INS for weak management controls, among other things. An underlying theme of criticism concerns what many believe are overlapping and unclear chains of command with respect to INS's service and enforcement functions. There appears to be a consensus among the Administration, Congress, and commentators that the immigration system, primarily INS, is in need of restructuring. There also appears to be a consensus among interested parties that INS's two main functions -- service and enforcement -- need to be separated. There has not been a consensus, however, with regard to how the restructuring should take place. Current proposals to restructure INS center on separating the service and enforcement functions either by keeping INS intact and creating two separate bureaus to carry out the functions, or by dismantling INS and reassigning the functions to DOJ [Department of Justice] and other agencies. While separating the two main functions would create a clear chain of command and increase accountability, several questions are raised. Are these functions operationally separable or interdependent? Will both functions receive equal attention and resources? How will separating the main functions address the fragmentation of immigrant-related functions across INS and other federal agencies? How will the separate entities expeditiously share information?"

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31388
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