Amid the H-IB visa hassles in the US, comes in proposal from the Trump administration that seeks to scrutinise visa applicants’ social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit and YouTube.
The proposal came in after the US President Donald Trump ensured ‘extreme vetting’ for foreigners who want to enter the US. Like Trump, administrators have stated that the proposal is an attempt to pin possible terrorists. The proposal is now in the hands of the Office of Management and Budget to decide if it will it go further to become a law.
If the proposal passes, around 14.7mn people a year from countries like India, China and Mexico would be affected by the proposal. However, citizens from countries like the UK, Canada, France and Germany that have visa-free travel to the US won’t be affected by the proposal.
Along with their social media profiles, the people, who are affected by the proposal, have to also disclose their telephone numbers, email addresses and travel history that they have been using for the last five years. To further ensure a safe entry, the applicants will have to showcase their history of deportation (if any) and also notify if any of their relatives have some recorded terrorist activity.
“Maintaining robust screening standards for visa applicants is a dynamic practice that must adapt to emerging threats,” the US state department said in a statement, quoted by the New York Times.
“We already request limited contact information, travel history, family member information, and previous addresses from all visa applicants. Collecting this additional information from visa applicants will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity.”
Project As this proposal has the power of invading people’s privacy and freedom of speech, it has given rise to a lot of criticisms. Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security in the US, said: “People will now have to wonder if what they say online will be misconstrued or misunderstood by a government official.”
“We’re also concerned about how the Trump administration defines the vague and over-broad term ‘terrorist activities’ because it is inherently political and can be used to discriminate against immigrants who have done nothing wrong.”