The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, plans to hire more than 8,000 new employees (6,000 officer corps positions and 2,000 support positions) nationwide by September 30, the end of Fiscal Year 2002. In addition, the President’s budget for FY 2003 calls for a substantial increase in Border Patrol Agents and Inspectors for next year, which will require INS to hire 4,000 new officers. As one of the fastest growing Federal agencies, INS offers a wide variety of career opportunities on the front line of efforts to strengthen homeland security and to maintain our Nation’s long, rich history of welcoming legal immigrants.
The Work of INS
Headquartered in Washington, DC, INS is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the admission of visitors, business travelers and other foreign-born persons (i.e., aliens) to the United States and for administering various immigration benefits. As such, INS employees are called to defend America’s border against illegal immigration, while also assisting immigrants who are eligible to become U.S. citizens.
To fulfill its mission, INS has personnel stationed across the United States and around the globe. Domestically, INS currently has 33 districts, 21 Border Patrol sectors, three regional offices, four service centers, and eight asylum offices. Overseas, INS has three district offices – Mexico City, Bangkok, and Rome – and 33 sub-offices.
INS’ work is divided between two major functions: services and enforcement. Service activities include the adjudication of applications for the broad range of benefits the agency offers legal immigrants and their families, which includes work authorization, employment-based visas, adjustments of status, and naturalization. Benefit applications and petitions are processed by Adjudications Officers, who are responsible for determining whether an immigrant qualifies for the benefit for which he or she is applying.
Immigration Information Officers assist hundreds of thousands of people who apply for various types of immigration benefits each year, providing them with information about immigration and nationality law and regulations. They help ensure that applicants have the information necessary to complete required forms.
The agency’s enforcement functions, which include preventing unauthorized people from entering the country and finding and removing those who are living or working here illegally, are carried out by four programs: Border Patrol, Inspections, Investigation and Detention and Removals. To carry out their responsibilities, enforcement personnel often employ state-of-the-art technology.
* Border Patrol Agents are responsible for controlling the vast stretches of U.S. borders between ports of entry, using just about everything from horses to helicopters to patrol these areas. In addition to preventing illegal entry and apprehending those who have entered illegally, Border Patrol Agents are frequently called upon to rescue aliens in distress. Agents are also on the front line in the war against drugs.
* Immigration Inspectors screen all travelers arriving in the United States by land, air, or sea through
official ports of entry. They determine whether travelers are authorized to enter the country and whether the travel documents they have are legitimate or fraudulent. Additionally, they are more often than not the first U.S. official an asylum-seeker encounters, and as such must determine whether that person should be referred to an Asylum Officer.
* Special Agents investigate violations of immigration law, ranging from alien smuggling to unauthorized employment to document fraud. Today, these criminal activities are frequently carried out by international criminal organizations, requiring Special Agents to work closely with other law-enforcement officials, both home and abroad. Agents are also charged with investigating legal immigrants involved in criminal activities, such as narcotic trafficking
* Detention and Deportation Officers are charged with ensuring the safe, secure, and humane treatment of foreign nationals in INS custody as they await removal or other disposition of their cases, whether at agency-run facilities or contract detention facilities. They also arrange and supervise the removal of aliens to their countries of origin.
Hiring at INS
Most people hired as Adjudications Officers or enforcement officers join INS in entry-level positions. Some enter the agency in mid-level positions, and a small number enter in higher-level positions. Regardless of the position, all go through extensive training at one of several INS training facilities.
For specific listings of job announcements, please refer to Current Vacancies on the INS Website at www.ins.gov, or you can access the vacancy listings at www.usajobs.opm.gov.
Printed in Volume 1 Issue 7