Jun 1, 2019

Trump admin. requiring visa applicants to submit social media info

Photo: JamesYetMingAu-Photography/Getty Images

The State Department announced that all foreigners looking to attain a U.S. visa will have to list their social media accounts, emails and previous phone numbers, reports AP.

Why it matters: This change is part of the Trump administration's sweeping plan to overhaul the screening process, and they are citing national security as the primary motivation. President Trump has tried numerous things to curb immigration into the United States under the umbrella of national security, including the controversial "Muslim ban."

The impact: The move is expected to impact the nearly 14 million foreigners who apply for American visas annually. About 710,000 of those applications are for immigrant visa applicants, per AP.

  • Chinese visa agents are allegedly telling their citizens to avoid using terms such as "give birth to babies in the US," "greencard immigrant" or "guns" on social media as a result, per the South China Morning Post.

What they're saying: The Brennan Law Center released a statement saying the new requirement "creates serious risks to privacy and free speech. Despite the rush to implement these programs, there is scant evidence that they actually meet the goals for which they are deployed." They also claim Muslims will be especially targeted by the new requirement.

Context: The Trump administration announced this initiative in March 2018, but is only now moving forward with it. Social media screens are currently required for applicants who require "extra scrutiny," and nearly 65,000 applications each year fall into that category, according to AP.

Go deeper: ICE is seeking a program to monitor the social media of visa-holders

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

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The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.