In yet another move to uphold a cantankerous campaign promise, the current administration has announced that the Department of Homeland Security will screen the social media of all immigrants entering the United States.
As required by law, the DHS has announced the policy publicly, here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/09/18/2017-19365/privacy-act-of-1974-system-of-records
Here's what you need to know:
- The order takes effect October 18, 2017 - the date the administration's third travel ban is set to take effect.
- It will collect - for the first time - "social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results" on an involuntary basis
- It includes not just the entering immigrants, but the legal guardian of all disabled immigrants, as well as the immigration-appointed doctors who conduct medical exams
- It also targets law enforcement agencies who certify U-Visas, who can now be questioned regarding applicants
- green card holder and even naturalized citizens are also subject to this data collection, although the administration is unclear on the details regarding these immigrants
- Keep in mind: these orders have been subject to numerous legal challenges and may be blocked by the courts, so check back for any updates!
Ultimately, we have another attempt by this administration to target immigration. Let's be clear: this is not about border security or national security. The immigrants subject to this new data collection have already undergone stringent background checks, fingerprint data collection, and interviews with law enforcement or immigration officials. This is about limiting the legal immigration system, finding excuses to deny visas to individuals who present no threat to this country and in many cases have family members already living here. This is about changing our national identity from being pro-immigrant towards zealous and racist nationalism.
If you are undergoing an immigration process, or might be, please call our office to find out how this new order may impact you.