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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2001
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
INS
(202) 616-2777
TDD (202) 514-1888

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES INS RESTRUCTURING PLAN
SPLITTING SERVICE AND ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONS


WASHINGTON - - Attorney General John Ashcroft today announced the restructuring of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The plan reforms the agency's structure by separating its service and enforcement functions, and fulfills President Bush's pledge to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation's immigration system.

"President Bush is concerned that the INS has been hindered by the current structure of the agency to perform its responsibilities of welcoming new immigrants and protecting our borders by enforcing immigration laws," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "This plan fulfills the President's goals of improving the agency and helping our nation by creating a stronger, more efficient INS."

The restructuring plan separates the responsibilities of serving new immigrants and enforcing the nation's immigration laws and establishes accountability by creating clear and separate chains of command. INS reform under the plan will be accomplished administratively and will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2003.

"This plan provides overall direction under a single agency head who will coordinate and balance service and enforcement to effectively administer and enforce our Nation's immigration laws and policies," said INS Commissioner James W. Ziglar. "Such oversight is essential because immigration enforcement and services are intertwined in statute and policy."

Major elements of the restructuring plan include:

  • Splitting immigration services and immigration enforcement into two separate bureaus.
  • Providing clarity of function by improving accountability and professionalism through a chain of command with specific expertise at all levels. This is accomplished by eliminating the Regional Director and District Director positions, which have dual responsibilities for services and enforcement.
  • Maintaining a strong leader at the top and a unified Office of General Counsel to allow swift and decisive action in times of crisis.
  • Forming an integrated law enforcement organization that can respond quickly to combat terrorism, human smuggling operations and legal immigration activities at the border and in the interior.
  • Ensuring, through the new Chief Information Officer (CIO), that the Services Bureau maintains access to relevant enforcement data in adjudicating benefit applications. The CIO, through the Information Coordinator, will also ensure that Enforcement Bureau personnel maintain necessary and appropriate access to data collected by the Services Bureau.
  • Creating an Ombudsman in the Bureau of Immigration Enforcement to provide the public with a means to communicate concerns and complaints.
  • Establishing the Office of Juvenile Affairs, which will report to the Commissioner, to coordinate and standardize INS decision-making on issues affecting unaccompanied minors.

The INS Commissioner will appoint a Director of Restructuring who will work with field managers to immediately change the reporting relationships while plans for permanent agency restructuring are implemented and finalized.

"We have chosen to seize the President's initiative and make INS reform and restructuring a reality by introducing a plan within three months of my confirmation as Commissioner," said Commissioner Ziglar. "With support from Congress, we anticipate the reform to begin promptly and to be completed by the end of FY 2003."

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01-592


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