Trump orders tougher screening of visa applicants


WASHINGTON: The United States administration headed by President Donald Trump is making it tougher for millions of visitors to enter US by demanding extra security measures before handing visas to the relatives of American residents, tourists and business officials.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had sent cables to all US embassies, instructing officials to increase scrutiny in the country.

US President Donald Trump had promised “extreme vetting” during his presidential campaign.

However, the new rules will not be applicable to citizens from 38 countries — including several countries from Europe and allies like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea — who can easily enter the country under visa waiver program.

The visa waiver program does not apply to citizens from any country in the Middle East or Africa.

Trump’s ban on people from six Muslim majority nations in the United States is still suspended due to the court’s temporarily blocked President Trump’s travel ban.

The US Embassy staff has to scrutinise an extensive pool of applicants to determine whether they are security risks to the United States, Tillerson stated in the cables sent from March 10 and March 17.

The staff will ask the applicants about their backgrounds and monitor their social media if a person to check whether they have ever been in territory controlled by the Islamic State.

Mr. Trump spoke about the rising threat of “militant terrorism from immigrants” but did not specifically mention who will be targeted by the vetting.

His decision will increase the probability of denial for those seeking to come to America, and will further slowdown a bureaucratic approval process that can already take months or even years for those flagged for extra investigation. In 2016, the United States issued more than 10 million visas.

The advocates said they worry about people being profiled for extra scrutiny because of their name or nationality.

Director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association Greg Chen stated that it will delay the screening process and impose a substantial burden on these applicants.

The current US President had blamed former president Barack Obama over failing to screen people coming into the United States. Trump had first claimed that he ill ban all Muslims from entering the United States but he backed away from his claims and promised “extreme vetting” of those hopeful of coming to the country.

His first executive order for an interim blockage of refugees and people from Muslim-majority countries was blocked. The second order was also blocked by the courts this month as well.

Trump issued his revised travel ban on March 6th and also penned a presidential memorandum ordering the attorney general, secretary of homeland security and secretary of state instructing them to “implement protocols and procedures” for enhancing visa screening.

The visa applicants hoping to enter the United States, for family, tourism and business reasons, must apply for a visa and the US Embassy officials have the right to deny visas for anyone suspected of being a security threat, conducting fraud or planning to stay longer than allowed.

The cable sent on March 15th, based on seven pages, Tillerson was provided to The New York Times, made it clear that the process of getting entry visa is about to get tougher at diplomatic posts around the globe.

People targeted for increased scrutiny, Tillerson said in his cable, may be subject to a decision made only after more rigorous screening.

The officials will ask the applicant’s travel history, addresses and work history for 15 years; and all phone numbers, email addresses and social media handles used by the applicant in the past five years during the interview.

Another cable, sent two days later, the interviewers should not begin asking for the 15-year travel and work histories until the State Department receives authorization for those questions from the Office of Management and Budget.

The State Department stressed upon the embassy officials to postpone or reschedule interviews if an applicant fails to provide the information asked by the interviewer.
Chen criticised the Tillerson’s orders by asking how a single interviewer can improve security for the visa process if he takes 120 interviews every day and spend five minutes on each one of them.

“It’s highly unlikely they could obtain information that demonstrates whether someone is a national security threat in such a brief interview process,” he said.


  1. Let me see,sense January, 214 killed by fellow Americans, 0 by terrorists,0 by immigrants, but these facts won't get you 54billion for new war toys to fight terrorism and immigration so this must be fake news,lol.

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