US Tightens Noose Further, To Search Visa Candidates’ Social Media Handles

The incumbent Trump Government in the US seems to make the life very difficult for those keen to move to the US. As if the restrictive and anti-migrant visa and immigration policies of the Trump-led Government were not enough, now it, reportedly, wants to subject the visa candidates to increased scrutiny and violate their privacy, if we go by this new report.

The report in question says that those submitting an application for US Visa would have to present their social media background. As per the new proposal that comes from the US state department it will be mandatory for the immigration aspirants to offer the particulars of their Facebook & Twitter accounts. The applicants would have to disclose their social media identities utilized through the duration of the previous 5 years.

Though the US is not the first overseas hotspot to come up with such rules and plans, as several other overseas hotspots also have been doing the same since long, the move is likely to further erode the popularity of the US, as a top and free overseas hotspot for migration, and also cut down the number of the visa migrants.

Proposal to Hit Both Immigrant & Non Immigrant Visa Candidates

Reportedly, the latest proposal would impact roughly 14.7 million people every year. As per some people in the know, the information will be primarily employed to spot and screen those interested in either of these immigrant and non-immigrant US Visas.

But, this is not the only data that the US Visa officers would want from the aspirants. As per the available information, the candidates would also have to share their telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, besides the history of every destination they have covered through the preceding five years.

US Visa candidates to divulge if the US has ever exiled their close relatives

In addition, it will be mandatory for the aspirants to disclose if they, or any family member, have ever been expelled from any nation, or have been found engaged in terrorist deeds.

These proposals though would have no effects on the citizens of the Canada, UK, France, and Germany. The reason: these nations share Visa-free travel position with the US. Only those having the citizenship of the different non-exempt nations such as India, China, and Mexico would have to face the screening procedure, in case they wish to make a trip to the US, for either holiday or work.

The US Visa authorities have, reportedly, defended the step on the grounds that it will allow them to identify the prospective extremists.

Presently US examines Social Media profiles only in few select cases

At the outset, the authorities had to go through visa candidate’s social media handles if they though it was indispensable to check the actual identity or if the need of a stricter national security vetting cropped-up.

The modest regulations would be changed into tougher proposal, post the Trump Government decided to implement extreme vetting for those citizens from the non-exempt nations, who wish to move to the US, to allegedly safeguard the nation’s security.

Civil rights groups apprehensive, criticize the plan

The proposal, understandably, has not pleased many people even as several civil rights groups have, reportedly, come down heavily on it claiming while it seriously threatens one’s privacy; it also poses a threat to free speech.

As per a spokesperson of a rights group in the US, the move will puzzle people as they would fail to figure how the government authorities would identify what they write or share on their different social media handles. Majority of social media users, keen to move to the US, will worry that they could be misunderstood and subsequently prevented from gaining admission into the US.

These civil liberties groups are also wondering how the US government will actually define the word terrorist activities, given it is pretty unclear and politically colored. According to them, it can be employed selectively to remove some aspirants unfairly.

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