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Fact Sheet Template Image

November 14, 2001

INS Restructuring Plan

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has developed a restructuring plan that fulfills President Bushís pledge to fundamentally reform the agency by creating a clear division between INSí two vital missions -- service and enforcement.† The separation of these functions, while retaining a single agency head to ensure appropriate coordination, balance and policy leadership, will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency and, in turn, the nationís immigration system.

The restructuring plan can be implemented administratively without requiring legislation.† As a result, with the support of Congress, the reform can begin promptly and can be accomplished by the end of FY 2003.

Major Elements of the Plan

  • Maintains a Single Agency Leader
    Immigration enforcement and immigration services are inextricably intertwined in statute and policy.† The plan maintains a Commissioner who will oversee the coordination of the two functions to ensure that the nationís immigration laws and policy are effectively administered and enforced.


  • Separates INS Enforcement and Services
    The Bureau of Immigration Services will be headed by an Executive Commissioner who will be responsible for all immigration benefit services.† These services include processing applications for naturalization, asylum, adjustment of status, employment authorization, Green Card renewals/replacement and petitions for family and employment-based immigration.

    The Bureau of Immigration Enforcement will be headed by an Executive Commissioner who will be responsible for all enforcement activities.† The Bureau is critical to enhancing national security and is charged with combating illegal immigration activities at the border, ports of entry and in the interior of the United States.

  • Creates Separate Services and Enforcement Field Structures
    The field service structure will have six services areas that will be relatively similar to one another in terms of physical size and client population.† They will be headed by Service Area Directors, who will focus on immigration service delivery.

    The field enforcement structure will consist of nine investigations offices headed by Special Agents in Charge and nine inspections port areas headed by Area Port Directors.† The current 21 Border Patrol Sectors headed by Chief Patrol Agents will continue as part of the Enforcement Bureau.† The sectors and field offices will strategically focus resources on the areas of highest security concern and illegal immigration activity.

  • Increases Accountability
    The current INS Regional, District and local field offices, which have increasingly struggled with the responsibilities of dual missions, will be replaced with area and local offices focused on either immigration services or law enforcement.† The new structure will create direct chains of command that match expertise with the function being managed.† It will also strengthen accountability through clearly defined roles and responsibilities for INS employees.

  • Addresses Customer Concerns
    INS will create two new offices to address individual concerns of the public.† The Ombudsman in the Bureau of Immigration Enforcement will provide the public with a means to communicate concerns and complaints about enforcement actions.† The Customer Relations Office in the Bureau of Immigration Services will provide customers with direct access to problem-solving assistance related to immigration benefits.

  • Protects Children
    INS will create the Office of Juvenile Affairs, reporting to the Commissioner.† This office reflects INSí commitment to ensure that children, because they are most vulnerable, are treated with particular care.†

  • Enhances Enforcement
    Creating a unified law enforcement division that combines the Border Patrol, Investigations, Inspections and Intelligence into an integrated unit will eliminate a diffuse reporting structure that has prevented INS agents in the field from effectively working together and accomplishing the full scope of their mission.† Moreover, the enhanced career opportunities the new structure provides will improve the agencyís ability to motivate employees and to retain key personnel.† De-linking services from enforcement will reinforce the enforcement culture.† District Directors are often forced to make difficult decisions about the enforcement culture.† District Directors are often forced to make difficult decisions about assigning personnel to meet the competing requirements of effective customer service and effective enforcement.†

  • Focuses Customer Service
    A dedicated, focused, and properly trained immigration services management structure will equip INS to provide consistent, courteous, accurate and timely service, and to consider the customer first when developing policy and procedures.† By establishing consistent procedures and sharing information with the enforcement division, the Services Bureau will be able to better analyze applications.†

  • Preserves Vital Service and Enforcement Links Necessary to Screen Individuals and Enhance Security
    Immigration enforcement and immigration services are intertwined in statute and policy.† This requires close coordination and balancing of service and enforcement interests to administer the overall system effectively and to achieve the objectives of the nationís immigration laws and this or any future Administrationís policy.† Splitting immigration services and enforcement functions, while providing unified overall direction under a single agency head, is the logical way to ensure coherence in the administration of our nationís immigration laws.

  • Improves Data Systems and Interagency Information Sharing
    The Chief Information Officer (CIO) will be responsible for marshalling the information systems to provide agency-wide data to the enforcement and services bureaus.† The CIO, through the Information Coordinator, will ensure that the Services Bureau maintains access to relevant enforcement data for adjudication, and that the Enforcement Bureau maintains access to data collected by the Services Bureau.† The CIO will also be responsible for developing the necessary information inter-links with other federal, state, local law enforcement and other relevant agencies.†

  • Fosters Strategic Intergovernmental Relationships
    The new INS will place emphasis on further developing its extensive relationships with foreign, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.† The Interagency Liaison Officer will facilitate an improved flow of information and cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement organizations.

Ė INS Ė


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