Despite the fact that federal court judges have temporarily blocked the President’s travel ban on several countries in the Middle East, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has found a way to maneuver around that inconvenience. After just a few weeks on the job, Tillerson is instructing embassies and consulates to crackdown on issuing visas. He is asking they toughen the screening process and forcing them to include mandatory reviews of applicants social media accounts.
Social activist and human rights organizations have been upset and argued this is discrimination as it will unfairly persecute people of specific faiths. However, Tillerson never asked for any increased screening of people based on faith. It is a huge jump for them to conclude that.
Jay Gairson who is a Seattle-based immigration attorney told Reuters the following,
“Most posts already have populations that they look at for fraud and security issues. What this language effectively does is give the consular posts permission to step away from the focused factors they have spent years developing and revising, and instead broaden the search to large groups based on gross factors such as nationality and religion.”
Spokeswoman for the State Department Bureau for Consular Affairs Virginia Elliot said,
“in accordance with its terms, in an orderly fashion, and in compliance with any relevant court orders, so as to increase the safety and security of the American people.”
Part of the Presidents extreme vetting process would include looking at people’s social media pages. Radical Islamic terrorists have been known to have Twitter and other social media pages that are flagrantly violent and anti-American which promote violent hostility. Those social media users include ISIS and Al Qaeda sympathizers.
Analyzing social media pages would have proven successful in weeding out terrorists. The San Bernardino shooters had extremely pro-terrorism posts that had they been found they would have been arrested and nobody would have died during the attack that took place.
These new policies could save lives and while the travel ban may not be in place yet and remains stuck in court these embassies and consulates taking a harsher look at visas may very well save a life.
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