Immigration and Nationality Act Law and Legal Definition

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the basic body of American immigration law. Before the INA was created in 1952, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized in one location. Even though it stands alone as a body of law, the Act is also contained in the United States Code (U.S.C.). When browsing the INA or other statutes, reference to the U.S. Code citation can be found. The 1952 act is also known as the McCarran-Walter Act, named after the bill's sponsors: Senator Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), and Congressman Francis Walter (D-Pennsylvania).