The U.S. State Department now requires most visa applicants to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses, and phone numbers.
As reported by the Associated Press, this change is a “vast” expansion of President Trump’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.
It will affect some 15 million foreigners applying for entry to the US each year.
“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications,” according to a government statement published by the AP.
“Every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the State Department continued. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening process to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
Previously, so-called “social media identifiers” were sought only from a handful of people IDed as a potential threat—folks who traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations, for instance.
Now, virtually all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas must provide their personal details, allowing the U.S. government to snoop into their past in the name of justice.
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