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What are the Enforcement Practices of the INS?

What are the Enforcement Practices of the INS?

The Role of INS in Immigration Enforcement

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was a agency of the United States federal government with responsibility for enforcing the nation’s immigration and naturalization laws from 1933 to 2003. During its existence, the INS carried out a variety of enforcement practices to ensure compliance with immigration laws. This article will examine some of the key enforcement practices of the INS, including border enforcement, workplace enforcement, and deportation.

Border Enforcement

One of the primary roles of the INS was to enforce border security and prevent illegal immigration. To achieve this, the agency conducted regular patrols along the country’s land borders, worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to patrol coastal waters, and operated air surveillance programs.

The INS also implemented the “prevention through deterrence” strategy, which involved deploying more resources along the border to force would-be migrants to attempt to cross in more remote and dangerous areas. However, critics argue that this approach left many immigrants at risk of dehydration, hypothermia, and even death.

Workplace Enforcement

The INS also played a role in enforcing employment authorization requirements for non-U.S. citizens. Employers were required to verify the legal status of their employees, and the INS conducted workplace raids to identify and apprehend undocumented workers.

Critics of the INS’s workplace enforcement practices argued that the raids often resulted in the separation of families and left employers with a difficult choice between violating the law by hiring undocumented workers or risking their business operations by turning them in to immigration officials.


One of the most controversial enforcement practices of the INS was its deportation procedures. The agency was responsible for apprehending, detaining, and removing individuals who had violated immigration laws or committed crimes.

However, critics argued that the INS’s deportation procedures often left individuals in a state of limbo, as they could be held in detention for months or years without trial or legal representation. Others pointed out that many of those who were deported had lived in the United States for years and had families and jobs in the country.

Conclusion: The Legacy of INS Enforcement Practices

The INS’s enforcement practices have had a significant impact on immigration policy and the experiences of immigrants in the United States. While border enforcement is still a priority for the U.S. government, many of the INS’s other enforcement practices have been reformed or replaced by new policies.

The legacy of the INS’s enforcement practices remains controversial, with some arguing that they provided necessary protections and others arguing that they were overly harsh and violated the rights of immigrants. Regardless of perspective, the INS’s enforcement practices demonstrate the complex and often difficult challenges involved in enforcing immigration laws.

The INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) was a division of the United States Department of Justice, but has since been replaced by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. The functions of the INS have largely been replaced by several divisions within the DHS, including immigration services such as naturalization, permanent residence, and asylum.

The main duty of the INS was the protection and enforcement of immigration laws. It was designed to control immigration problems, such as preventing illegal aliens from entering into the United States and helping people born in foreign countries become U.S. citizens in a process known as naturalization. Working with the United Nations, the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services, the INS was able to deal with immigration problems.

Divisions of the INS:

The INS was divided into four divisions: Programs, Field Operations, Policy and Planning, and Management.

The Programs and Field Operations:

The programs division was responsible for the direct enforcement of the policies created from the management division of the INS. This included the tackling of immigration problems including the search, detainment, and deportation of illegal immigrants in the United States. It also handled the legal and illegal affairs of immigrants entering into the United States.

Field Operations oversaw that the offices operating around the world were performing their duties correctly. They also implemented the policies and tasks for solving immigration problems for three regional offices working under it.

Management and Policy & Planning Divisions (The Managerial Divisions):

The office of Policy and Planning was divided into three areas: The policy division, the planning division, and the evaluation and research center. The purpose of these divisions were to communicate ideas and information about the immigration problem with other organizations.

The management division helped to maintain and keep a focus on the general duties of the organization and made sure that the overall mission was being carried out. These duties were accomplished through Information Resources Management, Finance, Human Resources and Administration, and Equal Employment Opportunity.

Origin of the INS:

The formation of the INS was due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 1875 that ruled immigration as a federal duty to control because many states began to pass their own immigration laws at the end of the Civil War. Early forms of the INS operated under the Treasury Department and was responsible for admitting, rejecting and processing immigrants. They also began to establish initial immigration laws and policies.

During the 1900s, the primary concern of organization was to make sure that American wages were protected from the immigration problems that started to take shape. This is when Congress moved Immigration responsibilities from the Treasury department to the Department of Commerce and Labor.