The Trump administration has thought of a new way to help preserve the safety of Americans while still encouraging tourists to visit. By applying new questions that ask for social media history, security will be able to better find those who might have some sort of terrorist connections.
Under the new, stricter rules, the questionnaire will demand to know a visa seeker’s past 5 years of social media history, emails, phone numbers, and even employment history.
While critics are arguing that this will discourage some from coming to the United States, this is a policy all cities can support.
Officials will request the additional information when they determine “that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” a State Department official said on Wednesday.
The State Department said earlier the tighter vetting would apply to visa applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.
President Donald Trump has vowed to increase national security and border protections, proposing to give more money to the military and make Mexico pay to build a wall along the southern U.S. border.
He has tried to implement a temporary travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority nations that a U.S. appeals court refused to reinstate, calling it discriminatory and setting the stage for a showdown in the Supreme Court.
The Office of Management and Budget granted emergency approval for the new questions for six months, rather than the usual three years.
While the new questions are voluntary, the form says failure to provide the information may delay or prevent the processing of an individual visa application.
Immigration lawyers and advocates say the request for 15 years of detailed biographical information, as well as the expectation that applicants remember all their social media handles, is likely to catch applicants who make innocent mistakes or do not remember all the information requested.
The new questions grant “arbitrary power” to consular officials to determine who gets a visa with no effective check on their decisions, said Babak Yousefzadeh, a San Francisco-based attorney and president of the Iranian American Bar Association.
“The United States has one of the most stringent visa application processes in the world,” Yousefzadeh said. “The need for tightening the application process further is really unknown and unclear.”