A recent report from the New York Times profiles yet another controversial change to immigrant vetting procedures in the United States. On Oct. 18, the Department of Homeland Security will begin screening the social media accounts of all immigrants who enter the U.S. The DHS will also track the social media data of green card holders and naturalized citizens including user names, aliases, search results, and associated identifiable information.
Under the Obama Administration, the social media accounts of immigrants were screened only in certain limited scenarios, but the Trump Administration’s collect-it-all approach has drawn criticism from both the immigrant community and privacy advocates.
If you are concerned that new screening policies will affect your immigration goals, contact my office to discuss your situation with a green card attorney in New Jersey. I will evaluate your case, answer your questions, and help you navigate the incredibly complicated U.S. immigration system. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a consultation at the Law Office of Eric M. Mark.
Critics of DHS’s New Policy Say It’s an Unnecessary Intrusion in Personal Privacy
As I touched on before, the Obama Administration introduced a few pilot programs that screened immigrants’ social media accounts, but these programs were very limited in scope. For instance, USCIS screened the social media activity of Syrian refugees but only if they were flagged in an intelligence database. Now that the DHS will collect social media data from all immigrants, it’s almost inevitable that the policy will affect American citizens who have online correspondence with immigrants, which some consider to be a deterrent to freedom of speech.
Critics also point out ambiguities in the new policy. For example, the DHS was not clear about how it will use the collected data or whether it will continue collecting data after the application process.
Supporters Claim the New Policy May Have Prevented the San Bernardino Mass Shooting
Following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which killed 14 people and injured 22 others in 2015, Congressional legislators from both the Democratic and Republican parties pressured the DHS to screen immigrants’ social media accounts. According to police, shooters Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook had discussed martyrdom and jihad in private online messages before the attack.
A pilot project was introduced the same month of the attack that screened the social media accounts of fiancé visa applicants, which was the program Tashfeen Malik used to enter the country.
Contact a Green Card Attorney in New Jersey to Discuss Your Immigration Goals
If you have an immigration concern, whether you want to adjust your immigration status, bring a family member to live with you in the United States, or avoid deportation, contact my office to discuss your case. I understand what’s at stake, and I will give you the individual attention that your case deserves.
Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer in New Jersey. To learn more about U.S. immigration proceedings, visit USAttorneys.com.