Feds consider getting social media passwords from visa applicants

Posted February 10, 2017

The measure is being considered to vet people trying to get visas or refugee status in the U.S., Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Tuesday at a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee.

Your passport is not the only thing you may have to turn in at the immigration counter, be prepared to relinquish your social media account passwords as well to the border security agents. He said those he has spoken with so far have asked for a barrier they can see through so they can react quicker.

"It's very hard to vet these people in these seven countries, because they just don't have the internal infrastructure", Kelly said.

In June a year ago the DHS wanted to include social media information on the I-94 and I-94W arrival and departure forms that all visitors to the U.S. fill in, whether they're arriving under the Visa Waiver Program or on a non-immigrant visa.

He says extreme vetting is in the works for visitors and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, the same countries targeted in the president's travel ban.

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"We may want to get on their social media, with passwords", he said.

He reportedly stressed that no decision had been made, but tighter screening would be implemented, even if it means longer delays for awarding United States visas to visitors. "If they don't want to cooperate then you don't come in", he shared.

"But over there we can ask them for this kind of information and if they truly want to come to America, then they will cooperate".

The Department of Homeland Security is mulling over additional "security" measures that may affect visitors arriving in the US from certain countries, namely the seven Muslim-majority nations recently targeted by Trump's ban.

Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary, shared with the Congress on February 7 that the Trump administration was considering this option. A federal judge in Washington has blocked Trump's order.