Toward More Effective Immigration Policies: Selected Organizational Issues [March 17, 2006]   [open pdf - 164KB]

"As Congress weighs comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would likely include additional border and interior enforcement, a significant expansion of guest workers, and perhaps include increased levels of permanent immigration, some question whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can handle the increased immigration workload. There are concerns that the immigration responsibilities in the DHS are not functioning effectively, and DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff recently announced a 'Second Stage Review' (2SR) that includes strengthening border security and interior enforcement and reforming immigration processes as major agenda items. Currently, three agencies in DHS have important immigration functions: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The immigration functions are dispersed across three agencies within DHS. The Assistant Secretary of ICE, the Commissioner of CBP, and the Director of USCIS all serve with the same rank directly under the DHS Secretary. Of these, only the Director of USCIS has responsibilities that are exclusively immigration. While the DHS Secretary is the lead cabinet officer on immigration issues, he shares substantial immigration policymaking roles with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33319
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