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

Go deeper

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: Unrest continues for 6th night across U.S.

A protest near the White House on Sunday night. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Most external White House lights were turned off late Sunday as the D.C. National Guard was deployed to assist and authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters nearby, per the New York Times.

What's happening: It's one of several tense, late-night standoffs between law enforcement and demonstrators.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Tanker truck plows into Minneapolis protesters

The tanker after plowing into protesters on the shut-down bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday evening. Authorities said it appeared protesters escaped injury. Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota authorities said in a statement they're investigating as a criminal matter what happened with a truck that "drove into demonstrators" on a Minneapolis bridge Sunday evening while the eight-lane road was closed for a protest.

What they're saying: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn't appear any protesters were hit by the truck."