An intrusive addition has been made to the procedures of US visa application by the Trump administration. This is the submission of social media history worth five years. According to estimates, this will annually affect about five million individuals.
According to the announcement made by the US State Department, social media handles such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and even those not listed would be required doing visa application. It will give the officers in charge of a leeway to reject applicants. This is a breach of a person’s right to privacy.
In addition to these, telephone numbers and email addresses used in the last five years are required, as well as residential status, international travel history, and involvement with any terrorist activity.
With the provision of this data, rejection of a visa can be based on the social, cultural, political, preference of food and even the religious aspect of a person’s life, spun as valid reasons. It is important to note that there is no appeal process once a visa is refused. From a CNN report, highlights are made on how those in need of student visas will be affected.
As done in most countries in the West, a visa applicant must provide enough evidence of returning to the home country, and in such cases, social media materials may be used against an applicant to show his lack of interest in returning. It should be noted that this would have been a Violation of civil rights and the First Amendment if an American citizen was faced with this process. This suggests that despite the forceful spread of democracy and democratic values across the Middle East by the US, these do not apply should they want to visit such a nation. As such, the privacy of potential immigrant or visitors is not as privileged as that of a US citizen.
Superiority is being asserted by this, but also it is viewed as a political tool that exploits geopolitics and uses American immigration and visa system as a weapon. As an example, it is seen that the government of China has warned against studying in the US with arbitrary rejections, tighter visa restrictions as some of the reasons, among others. With this, the Chinese students have been called upon to access the risk involved and be fully prepared before planning to obtain a student visa or any other visa in the US.
According to the reports from the Chinese government, a 13.5% rate of rejection is noted for students trying to study in America and is government-sponsored. Since last year, this rejection rate has increased by almost 10%. This is a big challenge as international students with the most significant percentage in America are Chinese.
All these restrictions against the Chinese students are just small sections of a bigger plot set to sabotage China due to the ‘trade-war’ that is going on centered mainly on 5G internet distribution. Also, Huwaei has been blacklisted by the US to prevent it from doing business with firms in the US.
If other countries are any indication, this fallout is far bigger when strict appraisals and security assessments from the Chinese government and the unfounded US Visa rejections are considered. For instance, losing worldwide academic relevance is at risk for the United Kingdom due to its discriminatory rejections of African and Asian students and scholars.
Extended powers are given to immigration authorities and policies are spelled out in a way that visa rejections will be justified.
This is a violation of a person’s privacy, as well as being screened by the border officials if you are permitted to live your American dream or not.
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