Traveling to the US? Your Social Media Accounts and Passwords May Need to Be Handed Over
A new policy has been implemented by the Trump Administration requiring most foreign nationals to provide their social media information when applying for U.S visas. Individuals will begin to be questioned about their social media handles and how they identify online. Government officials will scan applicants social media accounts and check for any red flags before issuing a visa. Applicants who do not use social media will not be penalized. If they were to hide their social media history, they may be subject to serious consequences. This policy was created in reaction to President Trump's March 2017 executive order: "Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States".
Government officials feel as if this policy will be a step in the right direction towards vetting immigration applications. One official stated; “as we’ve seen around the world in recent years, social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity. This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil.”
Many are concerned with the correlation this policy may have to jeopardizing peoples access to free speech. Hina Shamsi, the director of ACLU’s National Security Project believe that much of the information found on social media can be misinterpreted leading to unjust discrimination. She stated “There is also no evidence that such social media monitoring is effective or fair, especially in the absence of criteria to guide the use of social media information in the visa adjudication process.”
If you have any questions regarding the new policy or how it might affect your future travel plans, please contact Attorney Nicholas J. Mireles, Esq. at Attorney@loonjm.com.