BILL SEEKS TO SIFT VISA SEEKERS’ SOCIAL MEDIA AFTER SAN BERNADINO TERRORIST ATTACK
The office of John McCain reports that on December 15th 2015, the Senator introduced legislation “that would require the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to scrutinize social media websites and publicly available information of prospective foreign travelers or immigrants seeking entry the United States.”
Tashfeen Malik, the woman alleged to have participated in the San Bernadino terrorist attack arrived to the United States through the K-1 Fiancé Visa, a benefit provided to petitioning US citizens who plan to marry a foreign national outside the United States within 90 days of entering the US. Upon marriage, the foreign spouse applies for permanent residence and is given a green card.
According to the Senator’s office, Ms. Malik passed three background checks to obtain the K-1 visa, “despite having made statements in support of violent Islamic extremism on social media.” The McCain Office alleges that DHS does not routinely check social media of visa applicants. If made into law, the bill would require the DHS to review publicly available information of nonimmigrants and immigrants seeking US entry.
This measure would further clot US travel, if proposed restrictions to the Visa Waiver Program are also enacted (see blog, EASE OF ESTA VISA WAIVER PROGRAM QUESTIONED AFTER WAKE OF PARIS ATTACKS). The measure has the potential of forever preventing couples of being united in the U.S. if DHS discovers questionable material on social media, and could drastically delay the issuing of fiancé visas while cases are investigated
Currently The eligibility requirements of the Fiancé Visa includes:
- The petitioner is a U.S. citizen
- The U.S. Petitioner intends to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e) entering the United States.
- The couple is free to marry and any previous marriage have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
- The couple have met in person, at least once within 2 years of filing the petition.
To learn more about your visa options please see our “Coming to America” page.