Did you know that USCIS officially took over immigration service duties of the federal government only on March 1, 2003? On that date, USCIS was formed to “enhance the security and improve the efficiency of national immigration services by exclusively focusing on the administration of benefit applications.” (http://www.uscis.gov/about-us/our-history) In addition to USCIS, you have probably heard of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). These elements of the Department of Homeland Security deal with immigration enforcement and carrying out actions in order to ensure border security.
USCIS boasts a legacy of over 100 years!
1891: Office of Superintendent of Immigration is created and placed in the Treasury Department.
1895: Office of Superintendent of Immigration is recreated as Bureau of Immigration
1903: Bureau of Immigration is transferred to the newly created Department of Commerce and Labor
1906: Bureau of Immigration becomes the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization after the Naturalization Service is created.
1913: Bureau of Immigration of Immigration and Naturalization is divided into 2 separate Bureaus—the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization. They are both placed into the new Department of Labor.
1924: U.S. Border Patrol is created as a part of the Bureau of Immigration.
1933: Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Naturalization are reunited into one agency, the INS—Immigration and Naturalization Service.
1940: INS is transferred from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice.
2003: INS is abolished by the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Its functions are transferred to three agencies—USCIS, ICE, and CBP. They all are placed within the newly created Department of Homeland Security.
2013: USCIS launches its new website on October 30 under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, making it the agency’s first major web update since 2009. USCIS has promised this redesign and redevelopment will facilitate the user’s immigration experience as well as increase efficiency among their workers and their many satellite locations. The website marks USCIS’ recent effort to keep up with the fast-changing world of immigration, which increasingly relies on web-based technology to process visas.
Other facts about USCIS:
- USCIS has 18,000 employees in 250 offices
- USCIS was one of the only government agencies not affected by the U.S. shutdown since 95% of their $3 billion budget comes from visa application fees.