US To View Social Media History Of Some Visa Applicants

The State Department had said Tillerson had a scheduling conflict and had proposed alternative dates to the 28-member bloc for their meeting. The six predominantly Muslim countries on which he issued travel ban will undergo sturdier scrutiny even though the order is put on hold by the Federal Court.

Tough new visa regulations from the Trump administration have prompted the U.S. Travel Association to emphasize the importance of welcoming legitimate travel.

Following successful legal challenges to an earlier, more sweeping travel ban signed by Trump in January, the White House issued a narrower version of the ban earlier this month.

The security checks, however, do not apply to the 38 countries with which the US has a visa waiver program, which allows visa applicants to go through the process more quickly.

The visa waiver program does not apply to citizens from any country in the Middle East or Africa.

Trump has advocated for the "extreme vetting" of foreign visitors as a way to protect the country from a terrorist attack.

Under a new visa screening process, the Trump administration is requiring "a mandatory social media check" on some applicants.

The US Embassy staff has to scrutinise an extensive pool of applicants to determine whether they are security risks to the United States, Tillerson stated in the cables sent from March 10 and March 17.

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The State Department issued over 11 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas in the 2015 fiscal year.

The advocates said they worry about people being profiled for extra scrutiny due to their name or nationality.

Per the same memo, visa applicants that fall within one of these identified population groups should be considered for higher-level security screening.

Tillerson's talks in Ankara come as the US -led coalition escalates its military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces in Raqqa, Syria, Reuters said.

It would also require the applicant to share with visa officer all phone numbers, emails and social media accounts used in the last five years.

Another cable, sent 2 days later, indicated consular officers should not begin asking for the travel and work histories until the State Department received authorization from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Missing that session only would have fed the criticism that Tillerson hasn't played a central role in White House decisions on foreign policy.

"It's highly unlikely they could obtain information that demonstrates whether someone is a national security threat in such a brief interview process", he said.

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