The US to Demand 5-year Social Media Records from Immigrants
Extreme scrutiny is necessary
The US president, Donald Trump, is a leader who takes the safety of his country seriously. His administration is making demands from intending immigrants to America to tender the history and records of their social media activities of the past five years. The announcement was made last Thursday, and a mechanism to scrape the intending immigrants’ Facebook and Twitter handle has been set up.
This law is coming after the government started stressing the importance of extreme investigation on whoever wants to migrate to America, and this is a continuation of the last government’s mechanism to do more intensive screening on social media accounts after the terrorist assault case involving San Bernardino in California happened.
The State Department dispersed notifications last Thursday claiming that the administration will be ready for an official publication on Friday. The bulletin also said that the administration is working towards making demands from almost every applicant who applies for a US visa to tender their account details as recorded in the last five years. The social media platforms must be the ones recognized by the administration, coupled with the alternative of listing handles from other networks that are undeniably asked for.
The memo stated that it’s expected by the government that the action would touch almost fifteen million prospective foreigners to America, including those who want to apply for legitimate permanent stay permit.
Activists and critics on the issue of privacy and fundamental rights to freedom may not find this move funny, meaning that the impending scraping of handles belonging to prospective immigrants, may not go without questions. These critics were outspoken in strong opposition against the former president’s government, Barack Obama, saying that this kind of data should be taken on the grounds of choice and willingness.
The points being raised by the opponents, even as the government continues to implement more complex regulations, center on privacy infringement. Strong restrictions on lawful US immigration, which will be delayed by dragging the procedures for too long, can make the process be extremely stressful. As a result, many prospective foreigners will find it hard to get visa approvals.
Security in focus
Apart from demanding for 5-year-old social media activities, the prospects will as well provide former emails, phone contacts, past records of immigration offenses, and records on family past association with terrorist operations.
The present government has always clamored for stronger and intensive investigation into the histories and records of social media endeavors of immigrants since it assumed office. However, the action proposed last Thursday marked the first official step towards demanding every prospect to provide their details before getting approval to enter the US.
The aftermath of the 2015 terrorist assault, which had San Bernardino as the main targeted location, has led to the implementation of tighter scrutiny that was set up for social media activities of travelers. During San Bernardino case, the investigation showed that a member among the terrorists’ team had sometimes encouraged jihad when she made posts discreetly through one social media handle, with an anonymous identity which the agency couldn’t detect before granting her entry into the States. To avoid making the same careless mistake again, the policy will help to forestall future secret criminal communication among its prospective immigrants.
Although the law doesn’t include the request from the government to get applicants’ passwords to gain full entry to their handles, the former secretary for Homeland Security, John Kelly, hinted that such idea was deliberated upon in 2017.
The US government has never relented in its extreme inspection of immigrants in an attempt to create a focal point in the immigration and federal security regulation, part of which is the controversial prohibition on traveling that still stands at the center of tough legal issue.
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