For years, I have asked my clients about their social media. What names are listed on the social media? What countries, states, towns of residence are listed on social media? What employers are listed? Which friends and photos are connected to them via social media? All of that information can be, and has for years, been used by various US government agencies to determine a person’s eligibility for immigration benefits in the US or to the US.
The current administration is ramping up the government’s effort to use social media to “vet” immigrant and nonimmigrant applicants to the US. Sometimes this makes sense because social media can provide true information about a person. On the hand, often times, social media statements are hyperbole, exaggeration, or just plain misstatements. In those cases, it is unfair for the US government to use free-speech statements (intentional or not) and associations with others as bases for denying a truly eligible individual’s application for immigration benefits.
The Washington Post recently published an article about the current administration’s plan to use social media as a basis for vetting immigration applicants.