Each month, USCIS publishes a report on traffic to their website, which includes statistics on popular search terms people use to find their site. And every month, tens of thousands of visitors search “INS”. In January 2011, their report registered nearly 30,000 searches for the term “INS.”

This leaves them wondering. After all, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has not existed since March 1, 2003. On that date, most INS functions were transferred from the Department of Justice to three new components within the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. USCIS is one of those three components. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are the other two.

So if INS was abolished eight years ago, why do so many people think it still exists? Why are so many people still searching for it online? Why has the word not gotten out to everyone? Do movie and television portrayals of “INS agents” keep the legend going? What do you think?

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