Current Developments in the Executive Branch: Department of Homeland Security to Collect Social Media Information on Immigrants
Written By: Kristin Rodil
In September 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced that it would begin collecting social media information on anyone trying to immigrate to the United States. This group includes those petitioning for entry into the United States, green card holders, and even naturalized citizens. The government plans to require nearly all visa applicants to submit five years of social media handles for specific platforms identified by the government, and there is an option to list handles for other platforms not explicitly required. The proposed policy is expected to affect nearly 15 million would-be immigrants and has received critiques from a few media outlets as well as civil liberty advocates since its announcement. There is also at least one lawsuit challenging the policy as a violation of First Amendment rights.
This piece first lays out the background of this policy in Section II, describing which government bodies are charged with administering the policy and how the original policy (before the social media modification) came into existence. Next, in Section III, the article describes the policy in detail: what it does, who it affects, when it came into effect, and the practicality of implementing it. Lastly, Section IV describes the critical responses to the policy and the possible legal arguments that can be made to challenge it.Subscribe to GILJ