Individuals seeking U.S. citizenship in Colorado may wish to know that law enforcement officials have the authority to monitor social media profiles. Since June of 2019, approximately 15 million U.S. visa applicants have provided social media information on their applications.
As reported by CNN News, an executive order granted the Department of Homeland Security the ability to request an individual’s handles or usernames on popular networking websites. Visa applications may ask about information related to any accounts that an applicant used within the past five years. An official may review profiles to determine whether an individual “poses a law enforcement or national security risk to the United States.”
Social media postings may raise suspicions of wrongdoing
Any information that an individual posts online is generally available to the public. Immigration officials may easily view it. Even when an individual sets a profile to “private” or limits who can view it, another individual may see it by posing as a relative or friend.
Postings or information that discuss or reference illegal activities may prevent an individual from accomplishing his or her U.S. naturalization goals. A social media posting that causes a viewer to question an applicant’s moral character could also be harmful. Posting pictures of illegal substances, even if jokingly, may hurt the immigration process.
Freedom of speech when seeking citizenship
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects everyone’s freedom of speech, even when an individual has not yet received permanent citizenship. Citizens and foreign individuals with authorization to live and work in the U.S. may freely discuss their viewpoints without fear of retribution from the government.
Some online postings, however, may raise suspicions of wrongdoing or result in harassment. According to CNN, one individual claimed to have had his visa revoked by following social media accounts that presented dissenting political views. If an individual believes social media activity has harmed his or her immigration status, legal action may help prevent deportation.