In a series of newly released rules meant to better screen those entering the United States, the State Department will now require a review of tourists and immigrants’ social media history. In addition to social media history, travelers will be asked about and familial ties to terrorism or terrorist organizations, previous issues they may have had with immigration, and prior phone numbers and email address they used. These new measures were long discussed by then-candidate Trump on the campaign trail, and explored by the Trump administration, with the aid of tech companies such as IBM, in August of 2017.
More Via Washington Times: “This upgrade to visa vetting is long overdue, and it’s appropriate to apply it to everyone seeking entry, because terrorism is a worldwide problem. The aim is to try to weed out people with radical or dangerous views,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Security experts have demanded the government collect more information from visitors and immigrants for years, but civil liberties groups have been wary of the move. Homeland Security had floated plans to track social media of immigrant applicants, but the State Department’s new proposal would apply to tourists and others coming on temporary visas. Some 14 million people would be affected by the request for information, the department’s documents say.
“Collecting this additional information from visa applicants will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity,” the department said. Ms. Vaughan said she wished the State Department had also requested information on the visitor application asking whether female travelers are intending to enter the U.S. for the purpose of having a child.
She said that could cut down on what’s known as “birth tourism,” where women in the late stages of pregnancy visit the U.S. in order to give birth on American soil, which secures citizenship for the child.