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William D. Owen

Superintendent of Immigration, July 1, 1891 - April 7, 1893

William Owen served as the first Superintendent of the federal Office of Immigration. Owen began his political career in the U.S. House of Representatives where he served 3 terms from 1885-1891. As a member of Congress Owen served as Chairman of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization and played an instrumental role in preparing the Immigration Act of 1891, which provided for the creation of the Office of Immigration (the precursor to INS and USCIS).

After an unsuccessful re-election bid in 1890, Owen was appointed as the first Superintendent of Immigration, a position he held until April 7, 1893. After leaving the Immigration Service, Owen served as Indiana Secretary of State (1895-1899) and engaged in real estate speculation. He died in 1906 while traveling in Europe.


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