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How Trump’s Extreme Vetting Policies Will Affect Visitors to the U.S.

Extreme vetting is the name given to a series of promises made by United States President Donald Trump during his election campaign. The promises ostensibly refer to implementing policies to intensify the screening process of admitting visitors into the country for security purposes, but the executive orders issued to that effect have been frozen by federal courts due to various issues, particularly because they may run afoul of the Constitution.

The intention of the executive orders appears to be politically motivated, which may explain why the White House is trying to modify the extreme vetting policies in the hope they will survive legal challenges. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has explained extreme vetting as a decision to extend the screening of travelers whose intentions for entering the U.S. are not clear. More specifically, travelers would have to prove to customs and immigration agents that their intentions to enter are legitimate.

Some of the ideas that have been proposed in relation to extreme vetting include turning over mobile devices as well as username/password combinations so agents can review social media activity and evaluate the contacts of travelers. Should these measures be implemented, they could extend to travelers who participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which includes passport holders from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

As of June 2017, none of the aforementioned measures have been officially implemented. Nonetheless, there have been reports about travelers whose names are vaguely Arabic or who may loosely fit a certain profile being detained or given a hard time at airports. This is something that has been happening sporadically since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it has increased significantly since President Trump took office.

According to news reports published in late May, more than 100,000 visa applications submitted to U.S. consulates overseas were flagged for the purpose of conducting secondary reviews. This move was reported in the wake of social media updates posted by the President on Twitter. The State Department has issued a new form to be given to applicants whose visa applications were flagged. The DS-5535 form, Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants, apparently includes the burden of providing credentials to access social media accounts.

On June 14th, President Trump stated his intention to “reset the clock” on his executive order, which was due to expire in the same month. What this means is that the President is going to instruct the Justice Department to keep fighting in court. Should the government ever prevail, the extreme vetting measures may go into effect to the detriment of tourism, business travel, family-based immigration, education exchange programs, and temporary employment immigration. San Diego immigration experts recommend staying informed about Trump’s extreme vetting measures in the event they are successful.

Travelers should be aware of the extreme vetting rhetoric being discussed these days, and they should be prepared to encounter long lines or even secondary screening at American ports of entry. It helps to stay up to date with an immigration law firm and to be prepared to contact an immigration lawyer in San Diego in case of detention or being denied entry.

If you’re concerned about how these extreme vetting policies could affect your ability to travel to the United States, reach out to the best immigration lawyers in San Diego. At KS Visa Law, we specialize in naturalization, family law immigration, temporary employment visas, and much more. Call 858-874-0711 today to learn more.

 

**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT**

As of June 26th, the Supreme Court is allowing a travel ban to go into effect for travelers who lack a “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States.” This ban affects people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen and bars them from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

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