U.S. INS REORGANIZATION

 

The ISSUE: The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) both enforces immigration laws and adjudicates applications for nonimmigrants and immigrants. INS is justifiably criticized for not providing timely and consistent service for applicants.  Congress needs to share responsibility due to unfunded, intricate and other conflicting mandates. Simply put: the INS has a tremendous adjudications backlog, and fails to consistently and professionally enforce immigration laws. Nearly everyone who deals with the INS agrees it should be reformed. The question is how to do that, while allowing the agency to operate successfully.

BACKGROUND:  Appointed in 1990, the Commission on Immigration Reform recommended breaking up the INS, and dispersing its operations to the State, Justice, and Labor Departments. President Clinton rejected those recommendations.  In the 105th Congress, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) introduced H.R. 4264, which would have turned the INS into a Bureau of Enforcement and a Bureau of Border Affairs within the Department of Justice. The measure did not win passage.  

CURRENT STATUS: There are three major INS reorganization proposals currently before Congress:

AILA's POSITION: Any INS restructuring proposal must provide for: a single voice on immigration policy and decision-making; coordination between adjudications and enforcement; and adequate funding.  S. 1563 and H.R. 2680 meets all three criteria.  H.R. 2528 meets none of them.