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Immigration Law

Expert: Social Media Vetting of Visa Applicants Could Limit Immigration

Ana Campoy, Quartz, Apr. 2, 2018 - "Would-be-travelers to the U.S. beware: The line for a U.S. visa could soon be getting a lot longer. The State Department on Friday proposed to include extra questions about social-media use in visa applications. It wants applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas to submit their social-media handles from the previous five years, according to notices filed by the agency in Federal Register. The changes, which have to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget after a 60-day public comment period, are part of the Trump administration’s mounting scrutiny on immigrants. ... “This is an indirect way that the Trump administration is trying to limit immigration to the U.S. that does not require for them to go to Congress,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University, of the proposed rules. ... Along with the handles, the State Department is also asking for a five-year history of email addresses, telephone numbers, and international trips. The extra information has the potential of significantly increasing the workload of consular officers, says Yale-Loehr, and reducing the number of visas the U.S. issues. The rules could also have economic consequences. People going to the U.S. on vacation might ditch their plans rather than divulging five-years’ worth of personal details."