Visitors to the U.S. could be forced to provide cellphone contacts and social-media passwords and answer questions about their ideology, according to Trump administration officials, measures that could intrude into the lives of millions of foreigners.
The changes could apply to visitors from America’s closest allies as well as other nations and include subjecting more visa applicants to intense security reviews. Together, they would amount to the “extreme vetting” touted by Trump.
Administration officials conducting a review of vetting procedures aim to replace what they see as a presumption toward letting people into the country with a more skeptical outlook. “If there is any doubt about a person’s intentions coming to the United States, they should have to overcome—really and truly prove to our satisfaction—that they are coming for legitimate reasons,” said Gene Hamilton, senior counselor to the Department of Homeland Security.
Their full scope has yet to be publicly discussed and would be sure to generate significant controversy, both at home, from civil libertarians and others who see the questions as infringing on privacy rights, and abroad, as other nations could impose retaliatory requirements on Americans seeking visas.