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Immigration And Naturalization Service Government Agency

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History Of The Immigration And Naturalization Service

US government continues immigration crackdown

Immigrant Inspectors, circa 1924

Shortly after the U.S. Civil War, some states started to pass their own immigration laws, which prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in 1875 that immigration was a federal responsibility. The Immigration Act of 1891 established an Office of the Superintendent of Immigration within the Treasury Department. This office was responsible for admitting, rejecting, and processing all immigrants seeking admission to the United States and for implementing national immigration policy. ‘Immigrant Inspectors’, as they were called then, were stationed at major U.S. ports of entry collecting manifests of arriving passengers. Its largest station was located on Ellis Island in New York harbor. Among other things, a ‘head tax’ of fifty cents was collected on each immigrant.

Paralleling some immigration concerns of today, in the early 1900s Congress’ primary interest in immigration was to protect American workers and wages: the reason it had become a federal concern in the first place. This made immigration more a matter of commerce than revenue. In 1903, Congress transferred the Bureau of Immigration to the newly created Department of Commerce and Labor.

President Franklin Roosevelt moved the INS from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice in 1940.

Inquiries Based On Filing Location

Case-specific Questions

If you have a question about your case, you may use our convenient online tools. If you have tried our tools and still need help, you may submit an online case inquiry or call to the USCIS Contact Center. Depending on what information we need to respond to your request, we may forward a service request to the office that is processing your case.

USCIS Service Centers

The Service Center Operations Directorate has five service centers that process and adjudicate certain immigration applications and petitions.

The National Benefits Center processes cases with receipt numbers starting with MSC and NBC*, but it is not a USCIS Service Center. The service centers and the NBC do not provide in-person assistance with questions about your case.

If you contacted the USCIS Contact Center about a case at one of the USCIS Service Centers or the NBC and they sent a service request to the center processing your case, you should receive a response within 30 days . If you do not receive a response within this timeframe, or if you believe the response you received was incorrect, you may contact the USCIS Contact Center to have your inquiry elevated.


If you have a question about a filing mailed to the Chicago, Dallas, or Phoenix Lockbox you may email us at and we will answer your email as soon as possible. Please include the form number, receipt number, petitioner and/or applicant name, and mailing address. Do not include Social Security numbers in emails.

Fear Of Being Considered A Public Charge

The immigration laws allow officials to deny an application for lawful permanent residence or to deny a noncitizen entry into the U.S. if the authorities determine that the person is likely to become a public charge. In deciding whether an immigrant is likely to become a public charge, immigration or consular officials review the totality of the circumstances, including the persons health, age, income, education and skills, employment, family circumstances, and, most importantly, the affidavits of support.

The misapplication of this public charge ground of inadmissibility immediately after the welfare law passed contributed significantly to the chilling effect on immigrants access to services. The law on public charge did not change in 1996, and use of programs such as Medicaid or SNAP had never weighed heavily in determining whether individuals were inadmissible under the public charge ground.

Confusion and fear about these rules, however, became widespread. Immigrants rights advocates, health care providers, and state and local governments organized to persuade federal agencies to clarify the limits of the rules. In 1999, the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued helpful guidance and a proposed regulation on the public charge doctrine. The guidance clarifies that receipt of health care and other noncash benefits will not jeopardize the immigration status of recipients or their family members by putting them at risk of being considered a public charge.

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Federal Public Benefits Generally Denied To Not Qualified Immigrants

With some important exceptions detailed below, the law prohibits not-qualified immigrants from enrolling in most federal public benefit programs. Federal public benefits include a variety of safety-net services paid for by federal funds. But the welfare laws definition does not specify which programs are covered by the term, leaving that clarification to each federal benefitgranting agency. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a notice clarifying which of its programs fall under the definition. The list of 31 HHS programs includes Medicaid, the Childrens Health Insurance Program , Medicare, TANF, Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, the Child Care and Development Fund, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Any new programs must be designated as federal public benefits in order to trigger the associated eligibility restrictions and, until they are designated as such, should remain open to broader groups of immigrants.

The HHS notice clarifies that not every benefit or service provided within these programs is a federal public benefit. For example, in some cases not all of a programs benefits or services are provided to an individual or household they may extend, instead, to a community of people as in the weatherization of an entire apartment building.

Categories Of Immigrants: Qualified And Not Qualified

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

The 1996 welfare law created two categories of immigrants for benefits eligibility purposes: qualified and not qualified. Contrary to what these names suggest, the law excluded many people in both groups from eligibility for many benefits, with a few exceptions. The qualified immigrant category includes:

  • lawful permanent residents, or LPRs
  • refugees, people granted asylum or withholding of deportation/removal, and conditional entrants
  • people granted parole by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a period of at least one year
  • Cuban and Haitian entrants
  • certain abused immigrants, their children, and/or their parents
  • certain survivors of trafficking
  • individuals residing in the U.S. pursuant to a Compact of Free Association

All other immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, as well as many people who are lawfully present in the U.S., are considered not qualified.

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Us Citizenship And Immigration Services

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services resides within the Department of Homeland Security. “USCIS mission is to administer the nation’s lawful immigration system.” In this GPO Bookstore collection, you will find many of the educational resources produced by USCIS, available for purchase in bulk quantities, to meet the growing demands to become an American citizen.

The Impact Of Sponsorship On Eligibility

Under the 1996 welfare and immigration laws, family members and some employers eligible to file a petition to help a person immigrate must become financial sponsors of the immigrant by signing a contract with the government . Under the enforceable affidavit , the sponsor promises to support the immigrant and to repay certain benefits that the immigrant may use.

Congress imposed additional eligibility restrictions on immigrants whose sponsors sign an enforceable affidavit of support. When an agency is determining a lawful permanent residents financial eligibility for TANF, SNAP, SSI, nonemergency Medicaid, or CHIP, in some cases the law requires the agency to deem the income of the immigrants sponsor or the sponsors spouse as available to the immigrant. The sponsors income and resources are added to the immigrants, which often disqualifies the immigrant as over-income for the program. The 1996 laws imposed deeming rules in certain programs until the immigrant becomes a citizen or secures credit for 40 quarters of work history in the U.S.

Domestic violence survivors and immigrants who would go hungry or homeless without assistance are exempt from sponsor deeming for at least 12 months. Some programs apply additional exemptions from the sponsor-deeming rules. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued helpful guidance on the indigence exemption and other deeming and liability issues.

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Immigration And Naturalization Service

U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

Seal of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
Flag of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
Agency overview
June 10, 1933 88 years ago

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service was an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor from 1933 to 1940 and the U.S. Department of Justice from 1940 to 2003.

Referred to by some as former INS and by others as legacy INS, the agency ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred to three new entities U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services , U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement , and U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the newly created Department of Homeland Security , as part of a major government reorganization following the of 2001.

Submit Feedback On Policies Forms And Regulations

Government will change naturalization civics test on Dec. 1

How to Stay Informed on Opportunities to Provide Feedback

You may sign up with USCIS to receive automatic notifications, including information regarding new regulations, policies, and forms or changes to them.

You may search the latest USCIS Federal Register notifications regarding regulations, forms and other information collection activities.

How to Provide Feedback to USCIS

USCIS Policies

We typically invite the public regarding Policy Manual publications within 10 business days of publication. You can also submit questions or comments at any time on any Policy Manual topic by emailing or by clicking the Feedback button that appears at the top of every Policy Manual page. Comments received in these ways are not considered public comments for purposes of notice-and-comment rulemaking.

Regulations, Forms, and other Information Collection Activities

Federal agencies that propose new regulations or forms, or changes to existing regulations or forms, generally publish notices in the Federal Register and provide a specific period of time to receive public comments. You may submit comments at, following the instructions in the Federal Register publication about the specific rule, form or other information collection.

Other Feedback

To provide feedback on any of our engagements, areas of concern, or requests for additional information, visit our Feedback Opportunities page.

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What Is The Immigration And Naturalization Service

The Immigration and Naturalization Service was a United States federal agency that was often referred to as the INS. During its existence, this agency had a broad range of responsibilities, which included enforcing immigration at the borders and maintaining immigration procedures for those already on US soil. Many felt that its vast amount of duties caused the agency to be inefficient and commonly erroneous. This service was disbanded early in the 21st century and its duties were divided among newly formed federal agencies.

Attempts to control immigration into the US is not a modern concept. Immigration services date back to 1891. Naturalization services, which allow foreigners to become United States citizens, were not created by the federal government until the 20th century.

The INS began with the official title of Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. This agency was opened in 1906 after the Naturalization Service was created. The link between these two agencies was, however, divided seven years later in 1913 when they were transferred to the Department of Labor.

I Would Like A Friend/relative From A Foreign Country To Come Visit Me In The United States What Steps Do My Friend And I Have To Take

The Department of State website details what kind of visa they may apply for and also has a list of all the U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Generally, your friend/relative will need to come fully prepared to prove they are not planning to immigrate to the United States and that they have strong ties to their home country. They should provide evidence of property, financial statements, ties to the community through work, organizations they belong to, and family and friend ties to the Embassy in which they are applying. For more information on the visa process please

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Sentences Forimmigration And Naturalization Service

  • During World War II, over 2,200 Japanese from Latin America were held in internment camps run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, part of the Department of Justice.Internment of Japanese AmericansWikipedia
  • The next month the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service began deportation proceedings, arguing that his 1968 misdemeanour conviction for cannabis possession in London had made him ineligible for admission to the United States.John LennonWikipedia
  • A 60-man United States Air Force Security Police team, processing agents from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and various other administrative and support personnel were also on Wake.Wake IslandWikipedia
  • In February 2003, the American INS arrested him in Tennessee, USA, on an immigration violations matter, and few days later, Zündel was sent back to Canada, where he tried to gain refugee status.Holocaust denialWikipedia
  • In its early years, the UFW and Chavez went so far as to report illegal immigrants who served as strikebreaking replacement workers to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.Immigration to the United StatesWikipedia
  • When the federal government assumed control, it established the Bureau of Immigration, which chose the three-acre Ellis Island in Upper New York Harbor for an entry depot.New York Wikipedia

Ins Immigration And Naturalization Service

More than three

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, also referred to as the INS, was a federal organization charged with the maintenance and enforcement of regulations applying to non-U.S. citizens entering the United States. INS and its predecessor organizations were involved in activities including detaining and/or deporting individuals who had entered the country illegally and adjudicating petitions for immigration and naturalization, as well as patrolling the borders of the United States. The origins of the INS stretch back to the end of the U.S. Civil War.

After a number of states had begun to enact their own immigration laws, the federal government recognized the need for a uniform set of immigration rules applied across the country. The adoption of this federal responsibility was followed by an immigration law passed by U.S. Congress in 1882 that gave the office of the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to monitor immigration and naturalization.

This authority was then transferred to the newly established Office of the Superintendent of Immigration with the passage of the Immigration Act in 1891. Under the Superintendent of Immigration, inspectors were stationed at U.S. ports and began to collect tax from immigrants. Ultimately, the responsibility for immigration in the United States would pass from the superintendents office through a number of other government agencies to become what was eventually known as the INS.

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What Are Processing Times

Since the USCIS adjudicates immigration petitions of the same type in the order that they are received, constituents are able to track when their application may be adjudicated by using the processing times that are listed on the USCIS website. Because processing dates are updated monthly, I encourage you to monitor your case closely online and if your receipt date is prior to that of the current processing time for your particular petition and service center, please do not hesitate to contact my office for assistance.

Records Of The Immigration And Naturalization Service

  • 85.2.2 Records of the Division of Citizenship Training
  • 85.2.3 Records of the Federal Council of Citizenship Training
  • 85.2.4 Records relating to Chinese immigration and residence
  • 85.2.5 Records relating to registration of aliens
  • 85.2.6 Records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy
  • 85.3 Passenger Arrival Records1882-1957
  • 85.3.1 Passenger arrival lists
  • 85.3.2 Passenger arrival lists
  • 85.3.3 Vessel crew lists
  • 85.3.4 Nunc pro Tunc records
  • 85.4 Records of Alien Enemy Internment Camps1917-19, 1935-51
  • 85.4.1 Records of the World War I internment camp at Hot Springs, NC
  • 85.4.2 Records of World War II internment camps
  • 85.5 District Office Records of INS and its Predecessors1787-1976
  • 85.5.1 Records of INS District No. 2
  • 85.5.2 Records of INS District No. 3
  • 85.5.3 Records of INS District No. 4
  • 85.5.4 Records of INS District No. 5
  • 85.5.5 Records of INS District No. 9
  • 85.5.6 Records of INS District No. 10
  • 85.5.7 Records of INS District No. 12
  • 85.5.8 Records of INS District No. 13
  • 85.5.9 Records of INS District No. 14
  • 85.5.10 Records of INS District No. 15
  • 85.5.11 Records of INS District No. 16
  • 85.5.12 Records of INS District No. 17
  • 85.5.13 Records of INS District No. 28
  • 85.5.14 Records of INS District No. 31
  • 85.6 Cartographic Records
  • 85.9 Machine-Readable Records 1971-93
  • 85.1 Administrative History

    Established: In the Department of Labor by EO 6166, June 10,1933.

    Predecessor Agencies:

    In the Department of State:

    • Secretary of State

    In the Department of the Treasury:


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    Requirement Of Affidavits Of Support

    The 1996 laws enacted rules that make it more difficult to immigrate to the U.S. to reunite with family members. Effective December 19, 1997, relatives who sponsor an immigrant have been required to meet strict income requirements and to sign a long-term contract, or affidavit of support , promising to maintain the immigrant at 125 percent of the federal poverty level and to repay any means-tested public benefits the immigrant may receive.

    The specific federal benefits for which sponsors may be liable have been defined to be TANF, SSI, SNAP, nonemergency Medicaid, and CHIP. Regulations about the affidavits of support issued in 2006 make clear that states are not obligated to seek reimbursement from sponsors and that states cannot collect reimbursement for services used prior to issuance of public notification that the services are considered means-tested public benefits for which sponsors will be liable.

    Most states have not designated which programs would give rise to sponsor liability, and, for various reasons, agencies generally have not attempted to seek reimbursement from sponsors. However, the specter of making their sponsors liable financially has deterred eligible immigrants from applying for critical services.

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