Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)

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The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was established in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to consolidate and regulate border patrol activities, oversee enforcement, and to supervise the immigration process. At first, INS was under the U.S Department of Labor (DOL); then in 1940 it became an agency under the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ). In 2002, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act. Thus, starting in 2003, INS was ended and was replaced with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

ICE operates the enforcement and removal process and authorizes the conduct of homeland security investigations. CBP is in charge of border security to prevent terrorists, transnational crimes, unlawful trade, or illegal entry. USCIS is the federal government agency that offers national immigration services to all applicants who want to live or study in the U.S. For example, the applicants who apply for a green card should file a petition to the USCIS.

For more information on the history of INS, click here.

[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]