State Department Instructs Embassies To Beef Up Screening For Visa Applicants

-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued four cables to U.S. diplomatic posts overseas over the past two weeks that recommend additional steps consular officers should take when vetting visa applicants, in the first glimpse of the "extreme vetting" promised by President Trump on the campaign trail.

Two of Tillerson's memos outline how to implement President Donald Trump's revised executive order on immigration, but some of the guidelines have been rescinded after a Hawaii judge issued a temporary injunction to block key parts of the travel ban from taking effect March 16.

President Trump promised on the campaign trail to establish "extreme vetting", on people entering the US, and this measure appears to be a step towards that pledge. Tillerson's social media guidance was accompanied by another to order to form working groups to "develop a list of criteria identifying sets of post applicant populations warranting increased scrutiny". She reports that the human rights organization decried the memos' reference to "population sets", calling it a "license for discrimination based on national origin and religion".

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.




Some of Tillerson's stricter guidance was revised after Trump's travel executive order was struck down in mid March.

"There's so much social media out there", said Anne Richard, a former US assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration.

Last month, the United States revoked 60,000 travel visas after President Trump ordered a ban on visitors from seven mainly-Muslim countries halting arrivals for at least 90 days for the citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those applicants are mentioned separately in a paragraph titled "Mandatory Social Media Check for Applicants Present in a territory at the time it was controlled by ISIS", and must undergo a social media review as well. Missing that session only would have fed the criticism that Tillerson hasn't played a central role in White House decisions on foreign policy.

The cable sent on March 15 recommends areas of inquiry during a visa interview, includes: 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. The memos had been unreported until Reuters obtained copies of them earlier this week.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sacramento Quadruple Homicide Included Two Children
Mar 25, 2017 - 00:47
The victims were a woman, her two children and their niece, a source close to the investigation told KCRA on Thursday. The single-story home has a basketball hoop in a driveway that police blocked off with yellow crime scene tape.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Gerard Deulofeu downplays talk of Barcelona return
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:19
It is a great club. "They have shown great trust in me and I'm very thankful to Milan but I'm not sure what will happen in the future".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top United States cities dig in as monster winter snow storm Stella unleashes fury
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:15
A similar warning is in place through midnight in CT and parts of northeast New Jersey. Transit services in New York and New Jersey announced similar modified schedules .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Inside the numbers of Michigan Basketball's Sweet 16 run
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:14
Dorsey can come off of a ball screen and score, he can turn a corner, and he can come off the re-screen which reminds me of Mason. Wagner's ability to put the ball on the floor against Bell might not work, so MI will need to look to post Wagner up more.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Super Eagles Yakubu Aiyegbeni visits players ahead of friendly game against Senegal
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:13
The Eagles will tackle the Teranga Lions of Senegal on Thursday at The Hive Stadium, before facing Burkina Faso on Monday. But in their last official match, Nigeria triumphed over the Lions twice in the African Cup of Nations in 2006 in Egypt.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Suspect identified in slaying of Baton Rouge deputy
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:13
Deputies were following up on that report when they found Wiley Saturday night at Classic Cuts salon on O'Neal Lane. He was arrested and charged with incident behavior with a juvenile, and later pleaded guilty to inciting a felony.

Google mobile app, website redesign adds search shortcuts
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:02
The update will also bring with it new adaptive icons and better support for displays with wider color gamut capabilities. The feature isn't exactly new, and was actually supported by Android TV devices when Nougat was released.

CFIA suspends Brazilian meat imports
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:53
Brazil's Agriculture Minister will met with foreign ambassadors on Monday to reassure them and try to prevent trade sanctions. Eight of these ten importers purchased products from one Brazilian meat processor at the heart of the meat fiasco.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Budget Cuts Potentially Impacting Meals on Wheels
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:53
Losing that funding would not put Meals at Home out of business, but it would take a toll, Genthe said. To receive federal funding, the meal programs must serve people who are homebound and 60 or older.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top French Minister Under Investigation for Hiring Daughters
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:52
In a clear reference to Fillon, Cazeneuve said Tuesday that public figures should not challenge the independence of the judiciary. Fillon is charged with paying his wife and children around €900,000 in public money over more than a decade to do work for him.

Florida Governor Replaces Markeith Loyd Prosecutor Over Death Penalty Protest
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:51
Sade Dixon's father, Ron Daniels , expressed frustration with Ayala's removal. She added that such cases are costly and drag on for years.

Martin McGuinness took IRA victims' secrets to his grave, say families
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:51
"There's been much talk of my personal relationship with Martin - he never sought to airbrush the past, and neither did I". Speaking on Good Morning Britain earlier, TV host Piers Morgan likened Martin McGuinness to Nelson Mandela.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Giving Back! Colin Kaepernick Donates $50K To Meals On Wheels & More
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:50
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier this month the quarterback will stand for the "Star-Spangled Banner" this season. One source familiar with the situation tells us, "This is not a view that Governor Palin holds".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top World Golf Championships Dell-Match Play Golf Odds, Predictions
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:49
World top-ranked golfer Dustin Johnson lost in last year's quarterfinals and he got no love in the draw for this week's event. The final dagger came on the short, par-3 17th at Austin Country Club when Kjeldsen almost made a walk-off hole-in-one.

Westminster terror attack: Mayor of London's statement
Mar 23, 2017 - 01:48
Channel 4's Ciaran Jenkins asked if Mr Trump Jr had even read the article "before goading London's Mayor during a live incident'". Khan released a statement Tuesday thanking police for their quick response time after an apparent terrorist attack in London.