USCIS Expands Social Media Surveillance as Part of Extreme Vetting Process

USCIS Expands Social Media Surveillance as Part of Extreme Vetting Process

A recent American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) article illustrates the many problems with attempts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to social media surveillance as part of its “extreme vetting” process for immigrants. The Trump administration has quickly expanded usage of this tool, despite the lack of any effective and fair means of executing this surveillance. Not only does the practice affect visa applicants, but it also can impact people who are applying for visas from abroad, immigrants who already live in the U.S., and U.S. citizens who may be connected to those individuals. Although the DHS inspector general has raised concerns about this program concerning its lack of tools to measure any sort of success and its inability to weed through enormous amounts of data received, those concerns have gone unaddressed by the Trump administration. DHS also has made no secret of the fact that it intends to store this data for years to come, which will necessarily include data from immigrants’ contacts, many of whom may be U.S. citizens. This type of surveillance is also highly likely to result in a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression. Moreover, the current program appears to have no clear definition of what constitutes a “national security concern,” which can lead to surveillance of individuals who raise no such concerns, as well as arbitrary and unfair profiling of immigrants based on their race and ethnicity. For instance, one U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) memo indicates that some groups of Muslim-majority countries are unfairly targeted as “high-risk,” although this designation appears to be based on no objective criteria. Even worse, there is no data suggesting that social media surveillance is in any way an effective form of vetting immigrants. Given the current focus of the federal government on immigration enforcement, there may come a time in the near future when you need help with various legal matters, including representation in deportation proceedings. The deportation defense lawyers of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., pride themselves on aggressively representing the interests of those immigrants who are facing potential deportation by American immigration authorities. Our goal is to gather evidence in your favor, build on a strong case on your behalf, and develop a strategy that is best designed to help you remain in the United States and move on with your life. The earlier we can get started with your case, the more likely you are to prevail in your deportation proceedings. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and learn what we can do to assist you.
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