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Immigration law enforcers collecting social media information

The federal government recently acknowledged that it plans to maintain files on immigrants' social media activity. This has sparked concern among immigrant rights groups throughout the United States, including in New York, who have complained that this is a new level of intrusion and surveillance that is being promoted in an effort to enforce immigration law. However, according to the Department of Homeland Security, this move is actually nothing new.

Officials with Homeland Security said that the government has already been collecting immigrants' publicly available social media details for years now. This is reportedly being done to protect the country. The policy for doing this was adopted back in 2017.

The types of records that Homeland Security is storing includes social media aliases and handles along with search results and identifiable information. The Homeland Security branch that deals with immigration applications, called U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has files on immigrants who are applying for U.S. citizenship and for travel visas. This includes green card holders or legal permanent residents.

Immigrants who lack the proper paperwork may understandably be alarmed about the government's tracking of social media information over the past few years, not knowing what the government could do with this information down the road. This only adds to the uncertainty they may feel when it comes to going through the process of applying for citizenship or another legal status. However, an immigration law attorney in New York can help them to navigate these processes and make sure that their rights are not violated at any point.

Source:, "Federal Plan To Keep Files Of Immigrant Social Media Activity Causes Alarm", Joel Rose, Sept. 30, 2017

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