Greg Siskind at Siskind Susser PC wrote:
We’ve heard anecdotally for years about how immigration examiners will look at social media and scour the Internet when adjudicating a case and I’ve told clients to assume that their online history is being reviewed. But the immigration bar’s understanding of this has been vague – when it happens, what they’re looking for, what sites they’ll look at, whether they have a way of looking at password-protected pages, etc. We did just hear from a client who is applying for naturalization who received an inquiry from the FBI regarding his posting a statement where he actually denounced terrorism.
Aileen Josephs wrote:
The USCIS office in West Palm Beach, Florida has and continues to explore social media (Facebook) with marriage cases. Before the interview, they do in fact explore postings to see if the marriage is bona fide. The excuse that the Administration is giving that they do not have a policy of using social media is incorrect. They have and they do. The question is why did they not use it in the US Embassy in Pakistan? Who interviewed Ms. Malik at the Embassy? An American State department official or a paid, local that works at the Embassy? So many questions that need to be answered.
Bryan Johnson at Amoachi and Johnson, PLLC told me:
I don’t have any anecdotes of clients being confronted with information from their Facebook profiles but the federal government’s claim that it would be impossible to vet social media accounts of visa applicants is implausible at best. The government has time to interview every applicant in person so therefore they would have time to do a brief social media search – it takes about two minutes.
David Bennion wrote:
The federal government absolutely reviews social media postings in adjudicating immigration benefit applications. A client of mine a few years ago was placed into removal proceedings, supposedly for a Facebook post the client wrote about immigrant rights activism. In reality, the action was taken to intimidate my client and retaliate for my client’s political activism in the U.S. This shows that the risk of abuse with programs of social media surveillance is real.
I’m not convinced this “secret policy” to ignore social media is real after hearing from these professionals. Here’s to hoping that reporters will seek to verify whether such a policy exists.