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Immigration and Nationality Act

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was enacted in 1952. Prior to the passage of the INA, a number of statutes constituted immigration law. However, these statutes were not organized in one location. The McCarran-Walter bill of 1952, Public Law No. 82-414, reorganized the structure of immigration law by codifying and collecting many existing provisions. Although the Immigration and Nationality Act has been amended many times over the years, it still remains the basic body of immigration law.

The INA is divided into titles, chapters, and sections. While it stands alone as a single and distinct body of law, the Immigraion and Nationality Act is contained in the United States Code (U.S.C.), which is the collection of all the laws of the United States. The United States Code is arranged in fifty separate subject titles alphabetical order. Title 8 of the U.S. Code deals with Aliens and Nationality. When reviewing the Immigration and Nationality Act or other Federal statutes one will frequently see reference to the U.S. Code citation. It is acceptable to refer to a specific section of the Immigration and Nationality Act by either its INA citation or the U.S. code citation. However, the INA citation is more commonly used in practice.

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