On September 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced its intention to expand its database containing immigrant information ("Alien Files" or "A Files") to include social media information of all immigrants in the country—even green card holders and naturalized U.S. citizens—a dramatic ramping up of surveillance of virtually anyone in the United States who is not a U.S. citizen by birth.
What information is included in the notice?
The notice tells us the following:
In short, the notice reveals many disturbing facts on what DHS does with immigrants’ social media information after DHS collection. It also presents many questions about the collection and use of immigrants’ social media information. For example, can social media information contained in someone’s A-File, collected while they were still an immigrant, be used or shared after they have become a naturalized citizen?
I'm an immigrant in the United States. Am I now required to disclose all my social media information to DHS?
Not yet. The rule is currently undergoing a notice and comment period which ends on October 18, 2017. In fact, several critics of the initiative have called it a "sweeping encroachment" upon privacy, a threat to First Amendment Rights, and a system ripe for abuse, which would disproportionately impact minority groups.
I'm affected by this development. What should I do?
If you are an immigrant, a green card holder, a naturalized U.S. citizen, or otherwise affected by this change and would like to take action, you may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2017-0038 by one of the following methods:
You may also contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.
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