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  1. Citizens will be subject to the new DHS social media searches too, not just aliens. By Nolan Rappaport

    Homeland Security searching some social media doesn't violate privacy.
    By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has posted a new rule on the Federal Register which authorizes adding information from an alien’s social media sites to the files that are kept in his/her official immigration records, such as “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.”

    The official immigration records are known as “A-Files.”

    The social media sites will be searched for information which pertains to granting aliens a visa or some other type of immigration benefit, and this almost certainly will lead to social media searches of the American citizens and lawful permanent residents who sponsor them.

    For instance, if a citizen files a visa petition to accord immediate relative status to his alien spouse, and information on the spouse’s Facebook site indicates that the marriage is a sham, DHS will search the citizen petitioner’s Facebook site for additional information to assist in determining whether the marriage really is a sham.

    But the most important reason is to identify terrorists, and this is the reason that prompted 26 senators to ask DHS to search social media sites after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

    Social media sites provide a record of contacts with terrorist organizations.


    Published initially on The Hill.

    About the author.Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

    Updated 10-02-2017 at 05:34 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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