Commissioners and Directors
The Immigration Act of 1891 stated that a Superintendent of Immigration would oversee federal immigration law under the Department of the Treasury. An 1895 law changed the title of Superintendent to Commissioner General of immigration. This title remained the same in 1903 when Congress approved the transfer of immigration work to the newly created Department of Commerce and Labor and upgraded the Office of Immigration to the Bureau of Immigration.
In 1906, after citizenship policy became a federal responsibility, the Commissioner of Immigration headed a combined Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. This continued until 1913, when the Bureau transferred to the new Department of Labor and divided into two separate bureaus: The Bureau of Immigration, under direction of the Commissioner General of Immigration; and the Bureau of Naturalization, under direction of the Commissioner of Naturalization. In 1933 an Executive Order again combined the two Bureaus forming the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), led by a Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 dissolved the INS and placed its functions into three separate agencies under the new Department of Homeland Security. On March 1, 2003, the office of Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization ceased to exist. Since that date USCIS has been led by a Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
For a more detailed history of INS see our Agency History page.
Superintendents of Immigration, 1891-1895
Commissioners General of Immigration, 1895-1933
Commissioners of Naturalization, 1913-1933
Commissioners of Immigration and Naturalization Services
- 1933 to 1937 - Daniel MacCormack
- 1937 to 1940 - James Houghteling
- 1940 to1942 - Lemuel Schofield
- 1942 to 1944 - Earl G. Harrison
- 1945 to 1947 - Ugo Carusi
- 1947 to 1950 - Watson B. Miller
- 1951 to 1954 - Argyle Mackey
- 1954 to 1962 - Joseph M. Swing
- 1962 to 1973 - Raymond Farrel
- 1973 to 1977 - Leonard Chapman
- 1977 to 1979 - Leonel J. Castillo
- 1982 to 1989 - Alan C. Nelson
- 1989 to 1993 - Gene McNary
- 1993 to 2000 - Doris Meissner
- 2001 to 2002 - James W. Ziglar
Directors of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services