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The Trump Administration Will Now Require Social Media Accounts From Visa Applicants

Starting today, most United States visa applicants will have to provide information regarding their social media, The Hill reported . A U.S. Department of State official told Hill.TV that the change will apply to both temporary and permanent applicants. A drop-down menu will require people to name their accounts or say that they don’t use social media. The information provided will be incorporated into a background check. “This is a critical step forward in establishing enhanced vetting of foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States,” the official said in a statement to Hill.TV. “As we’ve seen around the world in recent years, social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity. This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil.” Right now, the drop-down menu only includes “major” social media sites. There’s no clarification on which...

Vanessa Taylor

May 31, 2019

Palantir's Software Played Key Role In ICE Deportations, Documents Reveal

Since its founding in 2003, data-mining firm Palantir has made quite a name for itself because of its willingness to work with law enforcement and government agencies. In December, Palantir sent a statement to the New York Times after reports that the company renewed a $38 million contract with Immigrant and Customs Enforcement(ICE). There are two main divisions of ICE: Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations(E.R.O). Palantir was explicit in saying that it did not work for E.R.O. In fact, in the statement Palantir said “We do not work for E.R.O.” Recent revelations have shown that’s not entirely true. Documents obtained by the American Immigration Council and other advocacy groups through Freedom of Information Act litigation reveal that the company was more involved with deportation, detention, and family separation than it cared to admit. Using Palantir’s software, ICE agents built profiles of immigrant children and their family members. According...

Vanessa Taylor

May 3, 2019

An Armed Militia Group Detaining Migrants At the Border Has Been Banned By PayPal and GoFundMe

The presence of right-wing militia groups has made attempting to navigate the border even more precarious for migrants and their families. Last week, The New York Time s reported that a group operating out of New Mexico detained hundreds of migrants at gunpoint. The group — known as the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) — uploaded videos of their actions to social media. Outside donations play a big role in Crowdfunding UCP’s funding strategy and crowdfunding platforms have been a big asset for them, until now. Recently, both PayPal and GoFundMe banned the group from using their services, as reported by BuzzFeed News . Both PayPal and GoFundMe have policies regarding the promotion of hate or violence. It seems the group was removed in violation of those policies, as a PayPal spokesperson told BuzzFeed: “The account associated with United Constitutional Patriots has been closed due to a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy. We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote...

Vanessa Taylor

Apr 22, 2019

How USDS Is Helping To Digitize Immigration, Making It More Efficient Than Ever

The black immigrant population has increased fivefold since the 1980s according to a report this year from the Pew Research Center . Immigrants made up 10 percent of the black population in the U.S. in a 2016 population survey. And now, thanks to the United States Digital Service (USDS) and their partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigration processes are becoming more efficient and, in turn, more accessible. USDS has partnered with USCIS to create modern tools and systems for processing immigration applications, made green card renewals faster through a streamlined review process, and introduced iPads into interviews for better applicant experience. These modern systems enabled USCIS to build online applications, where immigrants can apply for naturalization and renew their green card online. Now, USCIS’s new online applications help people find the immigration options that work for them and their unique situations, providing more accessibility...

Christine Cauthen

Nov 22, 2018