In March 2018, the Trump Administration proposed changes to the immigration system. One of the many changes that will impact millions of visa applicants is that they will have to submit their social media accounts under a newly adopted rule. The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media accounts and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers. Authorities estimate the proposal will affect 14.7 million people every year. There will only be a few official visa applicants who will be exempt from having to share their social media names.
Who Will Be Affected By This New Rule?
In the past, there were only a few visa applicants who needed to hand over this type of data. In most cases, it was only for applicants who lived in parts of the world controlled by terrorist groups. Now, most applicants will have to give their account names on a list of social media platforms and volunteer other types of digital accounts, such as emails. Even people who want to travel to the US for work or school will also have to hand over this information.
According to the State Department, this is a new way for them to improve their screening process to protect US citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States. If a visa applicant lies about their social media accounts or emails, they will face serious immigration consequences.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights group, disagreed with these new rules because they believe there is “no evidence that social media monitoring is effective or fair.” They also said that it would cause people to self-censor themselves online.
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