The U.S. State Department has announced that it will be requiring the vast majority of immigrants seeking visas to enter the U.S. to provide five years of detailed social media history usage, including their usernames for popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The application also will require applicants to list usernames for other social media platforms not specifically identified on the application. In addition to social media information, visa applicants will have to provide previous telephone number, email addresses, prior immigration violation, and information about any family members who have been involved in terrorist activities.
This move is only one of the latest attempts by the Trump administration to crack down on illegal immigration and protect the country from alleged “terrorists” being able to enter the country. The Trump administration previously had announced its intent to implement “extreme vetting” procedures to more closely scrutinize immigrants seeking to enter the country. This change, along with the much-litigated travel ban, is a part of the larger extreme vetting process, as well as a part of the increased emphasis on scrutinizing social media history following the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attacks.
The State Department published notice of the change in the Federal Register at the end of March, which provide for a 60-day comment period for the public before the change becomes effective. This change in application requirements will affect almost 15 million individuals who are applying to legally enter the U.S., including applicants for permanent legal residency. However, the change will not affect diplomatic and official visa applicants, who will be exempt from providing their social media history.
Critics of the change cite individual privacy concerns, but also claim that the move will slow down the legal immigration process by making it more difficult and burdensome to obtain a visa to enter the U.S.
No matter what type of immigration case you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to help. We handle many different types of immigration cases on a daily basis and have invaluable knowledge about how to best achieve your goals, based on your individual circumstances. By contacting our office right away, you will place yourself in the most advantageous position to successfully resolve your legal matter.