On May 29, 2018, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) joined 47 organizations in a letter led by the Brennan Center for Justice opposing the Department of State’s proposal to require visa applicants to provide social media identifiers, telephone numbers, and email addresses used within the past five years. To date, the government has not produced any evidence that social media screening programs work to deter national security threats. This is one of the main reasons why privacy, civil liberties, civil rights, and other civil society groups have consistently opposed the Department’s efforts to use social media to evaluate visa applications.
Advocates remain concerned that if visa applicants are required submit the data requested, they also risk revealing information about their families, friends, and business associates in the U.S. which may be used for purposes beyond those articulated in the Public Notices. As the letter states, “the context in which these policies are being developed – and the methods used to examine what is collected – suggest that they will be implemented in ways that discriminate on the basis of national origin, religion, or ideology.” Click here to review the letter.