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Banks Introduces Bill to Require Social Media Review of Visa Applicants
Thursday Feb 16, 2017 3:40pm
Washington, DC

By: Sheila McCrea

Indiana Congressman Jim Banks is introducing the Visa Investigation and Social Media Act of 2017, which is legislation to strengthen the vetting process for visa applicants. The bill is the first piece of legislation that Congressman Banks will introduce.

Congressman Banks says he thinks “we must have confidence that those entering our country do not intend us harm”. He believes is bill will be an effort of “Directing Homeland Security to review visa applicants’ social media before granting them access to our country is common sense. Employers vet job candidates this way, and I think it’s time we do the same for visa applicants.”

The VISA Act of 2017 would require the Department of Homeland Security to include the following in the background check of any individual applying for a visa to the United States:

- A review of the applicant’s publicly available social media activity (i.e. public tweets, YouTube videos, Facebook photos and posts);

- An interview of each applicant who is age eleven years or older;

- A fraud-prevention check of each applicant’s documentation; and

- A requirement that the applicant provide an English translation of his or her documentation.

The bill also would require the deployment of a Homeland Security employee to all visa-issuing embassies and consulates. Finally, the bill would direct the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review and report to Congress on the visa process 18 months after its enactment.

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