Refugees currently undergo the most rigorous security screening process of anyone who comes to the United States.
AILA Doc No. 03022644 | Dated February 26, 2003
For Immediate Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service
February 26, 2003
INS Assures Immigrants of Smooth Transition to Department of Homeland Security
WASHINGTON— As the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) transitions into the Department of Homeland Security, the agency is reaching out to the immigrant community nationwide to ease concerns about the impact of the change. On March 1, INS’ benefits function will become part of the new Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security.
“Yes, the INS technically ceases to exist at the end of this month, but we are committed to making this transition as seamless and smooth as possible for those we serve,” said Acting INS Commissioner Michael Garcia.
To underscore that message, banners, posters, and pamphlets bearing the name of the new bureau are being mailed out to immigration offices across the country beginning this week. Those materials provide information about the status of INS documents, offices, and services during the transition. The key points include:
The creation of a new bureau focusing exclusively on immigration benefits is
designed to enhance the quality of service received by the tens of thousands who
interact with INS every day. The BCIS will be made up of some 15,000 employees
and contractors headed by a director who reports to the Deputy Secretary for
Homeland Security. Eduardo Aguirre Jr., currently Vice Chairman and Chief
Operating Officer of the Export Import Bank of the United States, has been
nominated by President Bush as BCIS Director.
The services provided by the BCIS include: the adjudication of family and employment-based petitions; issuance of employment authorization documents, asylum and refugee processing; naturalization; and implementation of special status programs such as Temporary Protected Status.
While the administration of immigration benefits will be taken over by the BCIS, the vast majority of INS’ other functions will be incorporated into two other new bureaus under the Department of Homeland Security. Those bureaus are:
- INS -
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 03022644.