Is The DHS Social Media Policy in Effect? Will USCIS Review Accounts During Immigration Cases?
In March of 2011, the Department of Homeland Security released a social media policy that outlined how its employees should use social media. The policy stated that DHS employees should “be aware of the risks posed by social media and be conscientious in their social networking activity.” In December of 2016, there were reports that USCIS would be reviewing social media accounts as part of their review process for immigration cases. In the wait of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, social media was a hot topic for discussion. So, what is the status of the DHS Social Media Policy? And will social media posts be used against immigrants in the United States?
The DHS Social Media Policy was first announced in July of 2017. The policy requires that all individuals applying for immigration benefits provide their social media account information to USCIS. This includes any social media accounts the applicant has used in the past five years. This policy allowed USCIS to review an applicant’s social media history to determine whether they pose a security threat to the United States.
The social media policy is still in effect for DHS employees. However, it is unclear whether social media posts will be used against immigrants in the United States. While social media has long been a part of USCIS’ background checks for immigrants, this is the first time that the agency has explicitly stated that it may review social media accounts as part of its adjudication process. The policy raised concerns among some immigrant rights advocates who worry that it could be used to target and discriminate against certain applications. Others have applauded the move as a necessary step to ensure national security.
USCIS has said that social media will only be used “in limited circumstances,” such as when there is reason to believe that an applicant may pose a national security threat. However, it is unclear how the agency will determine who falls into this category. Immigrant rights advocates urge USCIS to exercise caution and transparency in implementing this policy.
If you are an immigrant in the United States, it is important to exercise caution when posting on social media sites. You should avoid posting anything that could be used against you in your immigration case. If USCIS does review social media accounts, they could use anything you post against you in your case. For example, if an immigrant has made negative comments about the United States on social media, USCIS may consider those comments when deciding their case. This could lead to more scrutiny of social media activity for immigrants and social media users seeking immigration benefits. So, it is better to be safe than sorry regarding social media and immigration cases.
If you are applying for immigration benefits, it is important to be aware of the DHS Social Media Policy. Be sure to provide USCIS with any social media information they request, and be mindful of what you post online. Social media can be a great way to connect with friends and family, but it’s important to remember that anything you post can be seen by anyone – including USCIS.
What do you think about this? Do you think it’s fair for USCIS to review social media accounts as part of its immigration case reviews? Let us know in the comments below.
Have questions about your immigration case? Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today, or call us at 1 (888) 853-4833! We can help guide you through this process and ensure that your social media activity does not jeopardize your immigration case. We look forward to speaking with you!