All US Visa applicants could have to disclose social media information

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Today, the State Department may file a proposed rule change requiring both immigrant and non-immigrant US visa applicants to submit their social media information. "It will infringe on the rights of immigrants and US citizens by chilling freedom of speech and association, particularly because people will now have to wonder if what they say online will be misconstrued or misunderstood by a government official".

The move follows the administration's emphasis on "extreme vetting" of would-be immigrants to the U.S., and is an extension of efforts by the previous administration to more closely scrutinize social media after the San Bernardino terrorist attack, said a CNN report.

Other questions seek five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses and global travel whether the visa applicant has been deported or removed from any country and whether specified family members have been involved in terrorist activities, said the document which would be formally published Friday.

The Department of State published its notice of request for public comment in the Federal Register on Friday. "The aim is to try to weed out people with radical or unsafe views", said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies. Documents detail that under the policy, immigrant and non-immigrant Visa forms will be asked for their usernames for a specific list of social media accounts.

The U.S. State Department wants to widen its scrutiny of U.S. visa applicants by asking them to unveil their social media handles. There will also be an optional section for applicants to share information about social media services not listed on the application.

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"Because they use social media so often now, people have got many sites that they use".

This move broadens the Department's vetting of visa applicants.

The State Department said it already collects limited information about travel history and family relations.

She said that could cut down on what's known as "birth tourism", where women in the late stages of pregnancy visit the U.S.in order to give birth on American soil, which secures citizenship for the child.

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