IRLI Files Public Comment on Enhanced Vetting of Visa Applicants with Possible Terrorist Ties

Press Releases

December 26, 2017

Protecting American Lives

WASHINGTON – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a public comment in support of the proposed rule that the State Department require some visa applicants to provide information that may reveal their ties to terrorism. Specifically, the new rule would require applicants to list their family members and any social media handles or aliases they have used in the last five years.

In support of the first requirement, IRLI points out that, because of chain migration — a process in which immigrants can sponsor their relatives for admission to the United States — knowing who a visa applicant’s relatives are is vital for national security. As IRLI points out, the recent terrorist attack in New York was perpetrated by a person who entered the country through chain migration.

Second, in response to groups who have objected that scrutinizing the social media posts of applicants chills their speech on the internet and raises privacy concerns, IRLI demonstrates that these objections have no legal foundation, because the protections provided to Americans by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution have never been thought to apply to aliens abroad.

“The unfortunate fact is that today, when we accept immigrants for admission, we may well be getting their relatives, too, in short order,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director and general counsel. “It is therefore an elementary precaution that we know who those relatives are. Those who seek to block that safeguard, and also the basic precaution of checking internet handles and scrutinizing publicly-available social media posts, put their own ideological preoccupations above American lives and our security as a nation,” Wilcox added.

IRLI’s Public Comment is on the Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants, 82 Fed. Reg. 65099 (Nov. 27, 2017)

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

Get Connected

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date with immigration reform in the United States.

Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA) is a non-partisan affiliation of talented attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases that serve the national interest when it comes to immigration law.

If you are interested in joining the network, visit the AUSA website.