Obstacles Faced By the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service ceased to exist under the name in 2003 when most of the functions that were originally carried out by INS were transferred to the Department of Justice under new entities of U.S Customs and Border Protections (CBP), U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (Stana, 1999). All these entities became part of the newly created Department of Homeland Security, as part of the government reorganization strategy following the 9/11 attacks. Since its inception in 1933, INS has faced a number of challenges.

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According to (Stana, 1999), several past studies have revealed that INS have been affected by management challenges for years. The author points that these challenges relate to the INS’ financial management, organizational structure, planning process and communication and coordination.

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            The INS has been troubled by management and program challenges for several years. According to (Stana, 1999), INS has often lacked strategic plan as shown in its past unsuccessful priority management processes. The effective agencywide planning systems implementation in the INS has often lacked sustained support from top management. The 1999 report by General Accounting Office of the United States outlined the lack of accountability among the INS managers in the attainment of the objectives and goals. Moreover, the reports cited that the INS management did not adopt priorities in planning during decision making processes.

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            The INS has adopted a decentralized organizational structure with inadequate controls (Stana, 1999). The regional structure adopted by INS has created geographical separation in its programs, thus limiting effective resource allocation to its programs and consistent implementation of its objectives. According to the author, the structure of carrying out enforcement in INS was divided between Border Patrols and districts, which resulted in poor coordination and overlapping of programs. Moreover, inadequate supervisory within INS has been evident with only one INS manager in the headquarters supervising several district directors and Border Patrols.

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            Although the agencywide reorganization of 1994 in INS was meant to increase communication effectiveness, communication continued to be a great challenge to the agency. Report by (Stana, 1999) revealed that by 1997, the managers at INS felt that the headquarters did not show adequate connection with the field concerns, events and problems. This disconnection in communication created uncertainty on proper communication channels, thus affecting policy and program implementation initiatives.

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            Though there have recent been repeated attempts to modernize, the INS still faces numerous inefficiencies (Skinner, 2005). The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing of the immigration benefits continues to be inefficient, thus affecting the attainment of its mission.  Most of the processing involves paper-work, resulting in duplications and ineffective utilization of financial and human resources.  Moreover, there are multiple problems for users owing to poor configuration of the hardware and software systems. This makes it hard to meet the needs of users, resulting in lack of data integrity, difficulties in navigating the systems, inconsistencies in customer address information and inaccurate performance statistics.

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