The U.S. Department of State says that they are implementing enhanced screening procedure according to which, all applicants now have to submit their social media handles.
According to the statement issued on Saturday, the new rule would add an extra security measurement which would eventually help to eliminate anyone having questionable content on their profiles. This is mandatory for all applicants, including those who are on a temporary visit.
The department further said, “National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening, we are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
This would likely affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million nonimmigrant visa applicants, even not sparing those who want to come to the U.S. for business or education. Although, applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempted from the requirements and won’t be asked to submit the details of their social media accounts.
Donald Trump, in 2017, in a presidential order, expressed his strong intention to introduce extreme vetting. Then, in 2018, the State Department proposed it.
Back in 2015, the Obama administration faced a severe backlash when Tasfeen Malik helped her husband Syed Farook kill 14 people in San Bernardino, California in a mass shooting. Her social media posts, updated before she was granted U.S visa, suggested her intentions clearly.