Can you be deported for a tweet? Maybe soon.
After Donald Trump became president he signed an executive order attempting to ban people from certain countries from entering the United States. That order is still being challenged in the courts, but President Trump is making progress on his promise to invasively screen ALL potential visitors the United States. It’s part of Trump’s “Extreme Vetting,” and it could soon impact every one of us.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is developing what they now call “Visa Lifecycle Vetting.” Under the program, travelers and potential visitors to the United States will be required to provide all of the social media “handles” or profile names, email addresses, and phone numbers they have used in the last five years. A computer program is then meant to monitor social media accounts, including the collection of all new or existing content, and automatically flag at least 10,000 people a year for even more invasive scrutiny, deportation, or visa denial.
People are justifiably upset. This program would seriously undermine the rights to privacy, free expression, and free association, and harm cybersecurity generally. Further, technical experts have made clear that the proposed system would be biased and inaccurate — in other words, it would erode our rights without making us safer.
Think you won’t be affected because you’re an American citizen? Think again! There’s no way for the government to tell from a social media account, email address, or phone number whether it is being used by a U.S. citizen, immigrant, visitor, or foreigner. Monitoring and investigation of visitors’ social media “friends” and associates, and people they communicate with by email or phone, will inevitably result in government collection of information about U.S. citizens. And of course, many countries follow “reciprocity” in immigration forms and requirements, so if you ever want to travel to other countries, you could be subject to this invasive surveillance!
The U.S. government needs to know what you think! Weigh in by taking our short survey below. We’ll file your responses directly with the agency. There are just 15 yes or no questions and a space for you to write your own comments at the end of the survey.