NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Breaking Up Embattled Immigration Service

August 5, 1997

A federal advisory panel recommends slicing the Immigration and Naturalization Service into three parts and assigning its functions to other agencies. Their report notes that INS suffers from fragmentation and conflicting missions.

Here are some of the major proposals from the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform:

  • The Justice Department, the immigration service's parent agency, would retain responsibility for controlling U.S. borders and removing illegal immigrants.
  • The State Department, which now handles issuing visas at American embassies overseas, would handle immigration services and benefits, such as citizenship requests.
  • The Labor Department, which monitors wage and hour laws, would also enforce rules covering the hiring of foreign workers.

While members of Congress and many of the nation's governors are reportedly supportive of the functional concept, immigration and Justice Department officials are said to be gearing up to fight it.

The budget for the INS has doubled to $3.1 billion this fiscal year from four years ago. At the same time, criticism has multiplied in response to such actions as admitting a flood of immigrants for citizenship just prior to last year's presidential election, and failing to weed out and keep out of the country suspected terrorists.

Source: Eric Schmitt, "U.S. Study Panel Recommends Plan to Break Up I.N.S.," New York Times, August 5, 1997.


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