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(US GOVERNMENT) Former agency of the US government responsible for the enforcement of immigration law, and the processing of visa/permit requests. After the attacks of 11 September 2001, Congress passed a bill creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); the INS was split up into its enforcement functions (which became part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its processing functions (Citizenship and Immigration Services, or CIS).

Prior to its dissolution in 2003, the INS was part of the Department of Justice. The CIS and ICE are both part of the DHS.
Because of its extraordinary power over the lives of millions of US nationals and residents, the Immigration and Naturalization Service gained lasting notoriety. Seven years after it was superseded by the CIS, most people associated visa regulations with the INS.

"Brother from Another Planet" was a brilliant parody of INS agent behavior.
by Primus Intra Pares June 16, 2010
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