Trump Says “Time to Get Tough” On Visa Applicants; Screens for Muslim Ties


by Micah J. Fleck

Tougher screening for forthcoming visa applicants is now the current instruction from the Trump administration regarding immigration issues.

According to a new report:

The Trump administration is making it tougher for millions of visitors to enter the United States by demanding new security checks before giving visas to tourists, business travelers and relatives of American residents.

Diplomatic cables sent last week from Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to all American embassies instructed consular officials to broadly increase scrutiny. It was the first evidence of the “extreme vetting” Mr. Trump promised during the presidential campaign.

The new rules generally do not apply to 38 countries — including most of Europe and longstanding allies like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea — whose citizens can be speedily admitted into the United States under the visa waiver program. No countries from the Middle East or Africa are part of the program. In 2016, the United States issued more than 10 million visas to foreign visitors.

Even stricter security checks for people from six predominantly Muslim nations remain on hold because federal courts have temporarily blocked President Trump’s travel ban.

But Mr. Trump and his national security team are not waiting to toughen the rules to decide who can enter the United States. Embassy officials must now scrutinize a broader pool of visa applicants to determine if they pose security risks to the United States, according to four cables sent between March 10 and March 17.

That extra scrutiny will include asking applicants detailed questions about their background and making mandatory checks of social media history if a person has ever been in territory controlled by the Islamic State.


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