1.1 The Homeland Security Act

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 created an executive department combining numerous federal agencies with a mission dedicated to homeland security. On March 1, 2003, the authorities of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) were transferred to three new agencies in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The two DHS immigration components most involved with the matters discussed in this handbook are USCIS and ICE. USCIS issues most alien employment authorization documentation and also administers Form I-9 and E-Verify, the electronic employment eligibility verification program. ICE enforces the penalty provisions of section 274A of the INA as well as other immigration requirements within the United States.

Under the Homeland Security Act, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) retained certain important responsibilities related to Form I-9 as well. In particular, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division enforces the anti-discrimination provision in section 274B of the INA, while the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) administratively adjudicates cases under sections 274A, 274B, and 274C (civil document fraud) of the INA.

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