Visa Applicants to Undergo Social Media Vetting
Visa applicants who pose a potential terrorism risk will soon be asked to hand over social media profiles and handles from the last five years to the State Department.
The Office of Management and Budget approved a request from the State Department make the change on May 23, according to a Reuters report.
In order to "more rigorously evaluate applicants for terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities," the department proposed the changes to a "subset of visa applicants worldwide." This subset includes approximately 65,000 people, or 0.5 percent of U.S. visa applicants worldwide, according to an estimate from the State Department.
The change was made as President Trump has upped his calls for the "extreme vetting" of people attempting to come to the U.S.
Trump called on the State and Homeland Security departments to increase the screening and vetting process for visa applicants in March, and many Republican lawmakers have warned of the dangers of social media in the spread of terrorist propaganda.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in an interview Monday on Fox News he and others "begged" the Obama administration to examine the social media accounts of people applying for visas, since that research can quickly reveal support for terrorist groups or other characteristics that might lead to a visa denial.
Posted in General News