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Apr 4, 2018

Trump Administration Seeks Social Media Handles of Immigrants & Nonimmigrants

Andrew Clancy Rodgers

In yet another effort to impose ‘extreme vetting’ of foreign nationals entering the United States, on Friday March 30, 2018, The Department of State published two proposed rules (83 FR 13806 & 83 FR 13807) that, if approved, would require applicants for admission to the United States to submit five years of social media handles for specific social media platforms (the platforms have not yet been identified). 

Because the requirements would apply to both nonimmigrant and immigrant visa, the rules would effectively require all foreign nationals visiting the United States (with the exception of those from Visa Waiver countries entering for less than 90 days, and other diplomatic or official visitors) to submit five years of social media history to the Department of State for review.  The updated requests are estimated to affect 15 million people. Despite some of the rumors circulating, the Trump Administration has not yet indicated a firm intention to require applicants to provide their social media passwords. 

The Department will accept comments from the public up to May 29, 2018, and Green and Spiegel will be submitting a comment opposing the proposed rules.  These rules will have the effect of overburdening and therefore slowing down immigration processing for all foreign nationals seeking a visa to enter the United States, effectively limiting legal immigration to the United States.  Furthermore, Green and Spiegel believes that this invasion of privacy will cause some tourists, temporary workers, and intending immigrants to reconsider their desire to come to the United States at all.

In addition to submitting a comment to the present rules, Green and Spiegel will be closely monitoring the rule making process, as well as any further limitations or changes the Trump Administration is making to US Immigration.  If you have any questions regarding if and how USCIS’ announcement affects your pending nonimmigrant or immigrant visa application, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

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