US border officials will examine 5 years' worth of visa-seekers' social media posts

Originally published at:

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And of course, if you don’t have any social media accounts, prepare not to be believed, and then the Kafkaesque process of proving a negative begins.


“The United States has one of the most stringent visa application processes in the world,” Yousefzadeh said. “The need for tightening the application process further is really unknown and unclear.”

Really? Is it really not clear even now? What does our government need to do, start grinding up brown children for sausage?


Who would want to emigrate here now anyway?


“I’m really only active on BoingBoing. My accounts there are @khepra and @popobawa4u.”


We have redwood trees! And the Grand Canyon!

And, uh … tornadoes!

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The last time I encountered US border control:

They insisted I sign on a document saying I had fully understood and agreed to/confirmed the above conditions.

(And this was just for a fecking transit)

And the “above conditions” were half in Spanish.

Which I could not in good faith affirm without caveat (that is - I did not know what they were forcing me to agree with).

… we may assume that the “translation” is identical to the thing we thought we were agreeing to - but history has taught us that’s a fools game.

Aaaand - that’s why I have refused any further speaking engagements or conference invitations to the “US” ever since.


It really is amazing how nationalist politicians manage to uphold the myth of easy immigration to mobilise their voter base.

In my country, it has been twenty years since immigration has been a relatively simple process. Right now, it is a years long buerocratic nightmare of standing in 100 metre long lines at 8:00 in the morning, then hours of waiting in stuffy halls tinged with the scent of fear and anxiety, then being at the mercy of deliberately understaffed, incompetent officials, who can’t even spell the name of the applicant’s country and probably wouldn’t be able to point to it on a map.

And that was the experience of my wife, who speaks the local language perfectly, has obtained a PhD from a local university and has been employed here for years. And still you constantly run into these fucking morons rambling about unchecked immigration.


Other posts, I seem to recall, allude to a presumption that they want this data so as to investigate and find all those emails that betray your terrorist links and intentions…

Well, it seems clear the other (primary?) purpose is simply to be absolutely certain that they can ‘catch you out’ and revoke any permissions granted on the basis of this data, at some time in the future if they so wish, because - of course - they already have a full record of all your email addresses and social media passwords. They could fill in the form for you, but that would not lead to the declaration errors they actively want! :wink:


If I wasn’t born here… I’d never immigrate here.


I think I need to make a new Twitter account called “@trumpisastupidfuck” and make it my primary. with the password being “you’reascumbaggovernmentagentaren’tyou?”, no spaces of course.

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Sad. I feel the same way.
I who had the flag flying in my bedroom as a child.


All they’re asking for is a platform and identifier? Without passwords, that would limit them to public posts; anything private on Facebook would be hidden. That’s a big step towards being vaguely reasonable.

I also sure wouldn’t want to be tasked with having to trawl through five years of social media posts on any platform. Blech. On the upside, maybe this will result in pressure being put on Facebook to finally make their UI less awful.


The article said that "consular officials can request"that information, from applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”

“Officials will request the additional information when they determine “that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” a State Department official said on Wednesday”.

Also, it is a simple 3 page form. The instructions tell applicants to “please provide a response to the best of your knowledge”. and "Failure to answer every question will not necessarily preclude visa issuance"
The final part mentions that willfully false or misleading statement or willful concealment of a material fact could lead to exclusion from the US.

I have to say that I am pretty impressed with Cory’s 1200 page O-1 visa application. Of course it is an application for entry based on the applicant’s “extraordinary abilities” I guess superman would have to fill out one of those as well.


This is correct, though it’s not out of step with the gist of the immigration and naturalization process in less fraught political times. It’s the nation-state-level “terms and conditions”.

We should have been asking why our cars have no seatbelts before we let Evel Knievel take the wheel, though.


Good analogy!


In France, there’s been a surge in naturalizations because mere immigration has become barely less complicated. And when discussing of Syrian refugees, it seems almost nobody worries about the most serious problem with them: how come so few of them want to come to France? I find it alarming.


And yet they wonder why people come here illegally. When my wife went through the process several times in the 90s/00s (two H-1bs and then green card-citizenship) it was much like themudshark describes, and she often joked it would be easier to leave and come back illegally. Certainly would be cheaper. It also.inspires anti-illegal immigration sentiment, as in I had to go through this bullshit so they shouldnt get to skip it (she has since softened on that).


I want to GTFO from here.

Having an orange elephant ballsack in the White House is disgusting.

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Not only this, but the groups from which documented immigrants are mostly drawn don’t generally overlap with undocumented ones. Those with the time and money aren’t generally those with low enough prospects to risk coming here without legal status, so all that “raising the bar” for visas and residency only creates artificial scarcity.

For a country that so fervently venerates the law of supply and demand, it certainly doesn’t appear to understand it in this case.