The INS & Out of New Agency
From The New York Daily News
February 28, 2003
By Leslie Casimir
Say goodbye to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Say hello to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services,
the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau
of Customs and Border Protection.
Effective tomorrow, the 69-year-old INS will split into three agencies,
all under the federal Homeland Security Department.
The department, formed after the 2001 terrorist attacks, has promised
to toughen border security and enforce immigration laws. It also
intends to improve service for the millions of immigrants seeking
green cards, U.S. citizenship and status adjustments.
Pamphlets touting the name change were sent to local INS offices
But Mark Thorn, the New York district spokesman, who will continue
to represent the bureaus, said immigrants probably won't see any
immediate difference. "Nothing is going to change - it's still
amorphous," he said. "The services that are being offered
on Friday, Feb. 28, are the same services that will be offered on
Monday, March 3."
But immigration experts and lawyers fear the overhaul will mean
a further slowdown in the immigration application process, which
is notorious for delays.
Margie McHugh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition,
said a slowdown in INS services began with the new special registration
program for Muslim and Arab men.
"Now that the federal government's priorities are war and
anti-terrorism activities, it seems that the processing of immigrant
applications is in pretty much last place," she said.
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