Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims to have the power to search travelers’ phones, and does so frequently. In a new development by the Trump administration, the government now asks for social media information when applying for U.S. visas, including all social media handles and profiles. For some travelers, these policies have resulted in them being denied entry for the posts of their friends and contacts on social media, and not their own. One Palestinian man was coming to the U.S. to attend school at Harvard when he was questioned at the airport. His phone and computer were searched, and because of some of his friends’ posts, his visa was canceled and he was deported. This is not a one-off case; the director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee explained that this has become the “new normal” over the last year, and that Arab and Muslim travelers are held to a different standard than other groups. “This is part of the backdoor “Muslim ban,” he said.

– Weekly Immigration Briefing by Olivia Hester, Immigration Law Analyst at Docketwise

Posted in: Immigration