Killed off by Congress, INS lives in Web searches

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2011 5:36 PM

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress dismantled Immigration and Naturalization Services. But, it turns out, INS just won't disappear.

Tens of thousands of people are typing "INS" into Web search engines such as Google and Yahoo each month, according to a report on Web traffic for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Citizenship and Immigration Services is one of the three agencies Congress created in 2003 to take over INS's duties. The other two INS replacements are Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The Citizenship and Immigration Services website traffic study found that INS is the third most popular search term leading to its website.

"This leaves us wondering," the Citizenship and Immigration Services blog, The Beacon, mused in an April 13 posting. "After all, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has not existed since March 1, 2003."

The blog asked: Why hasn't word gotten around that INS is history? Do movie portrayals of INS agents keep the name alive?

James Ziglar, the last director of the INS, said the name had become a pejorative word and people don't forget negative terms so easily.

Several people who commented on the blog posting said INS was easier to say or remember than USCIS. Three-letter agencies are the American norm, like FBI, DEA and CIA, according to another response.

Others suggested that INS, created in 1933, had just been around too long and couldn't be so easily erased from the public's consciousness.

Some suggested the newer agency should follow the lead of entertainer Prince, who changed his name to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and then went back to Prince.

With all the weighing in from the public, one person suggested on the blog, "I'll bet you're sorry you asked the question."

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Online:

USCIS' The Beacon blog: http://blog.uscis.gov