|Time to Break Up the INS?|
As a poll shows two-thirds of Americans favor a temporary freeze on all immigration, lawmakers are readying a bill that would totally restructure the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The bill, backed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, (R-Wisconsin) proposes to break the INS into separate enforcement and administrative branches and would reassign many top-level responsibilities within the agency.
Both branches of the new INS would report to an associate attorney general for immigration affairs to be created by the bill.
In October, the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, under the leadership of Rep. Tom Tancredo, (R-Colorado) published a 14-point paper calling for sweeping reform of U.S. immigration policy, including a demand for the creation of a new Border Security Agency that would replace the INS in enforcing all immigration laws. The INS would be abolished under the Caucus' plan.
"It appears INS is not getting the message," stated Rep. Tancredo at a Capitol Hill press conference. "It is clear that if we are going to secure our borders and protect our country, then we must end INS as we know it, and form a new agency that has the ability and the will to enforce the law."
Along with the duties of the INS, the director of the new Border Security Agency would oversee immigration-related activates of the Coast Guard and the Customs Service. Currently, the Coast Guard is under the Department of Transportation and Customs falls under the Treasury Department.
Other lawmakers, including Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (D-Connecticut) oppose dumping the INS, preferring a bill that would effectively turn the current Office of Homeland Security into a full agency to be called National Homeland Security Agency. The new agency would encompass Customs, the Border Patrol, Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Negative Population Growth backs immigration reforms
In a Nov. 12 letter to the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary, Negative Population Growth (NPG) called on Congress to follow the wishes of the American people and overhaul the United States' immigration system.
Recent polls indicate that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor lowering legal immigration levels, as well as strengthening enforcement of laws against illegal immigration. Two-thirds favor stopping all immigration during the war on terrorism (Fox News poll, October 31-November 1), and 92-percent want to see stricter immigration and border crossing policies.
"As the tragic events of September 11 made all too clear, our current
immigration system is not in the best interest of the nation," says NPG
executive director Sharon McCloe Stein. "Americans are clamoring for
tighter immigration laws. We're calling on Congress to heed their call."
NPG, a Washington-based population policy organization, recommends that Congress:
- immediately lower legal immigration levels;
- increase interior enforcement and border security; and
- implement a secure verification system to protect against identity
NPG advocates lowering immigration levels to bring our population size into
balance with our natural resources. Currently, immigration accounts for
two-thirds of U.S. annual population growth.
Also see update: Ashcroft Splits INS
Even as Congress considers a full restructuring of the agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) saw its service and enforcement functions split by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Good Book? "Interest
Groups and Congress" by John R. Wright
The history, organization, aims and processes of interest groups and how they influence and affect public policy and opinion in the US Congress.