In a move that could only be conjured up by swamp creatures and accepted by hive minds, the Associated Press reports that the U.S. State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers.
Social media, email and phone number histories had only been sought in the past from applicants who were identified for extra scrutiny, such as people who had traveled to areas controlled by “terrorist organizations.” An estimated 65,000 applicants per year had fallen into that category.
This new policy will affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants, including those who want to come to the U.S. for business or education. The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years.
In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants are now asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in “terrorist activities.”
My God, can you even visualize providing and filling out such a Catch 22? What does “social media” even mean? Well for clues, the drop-down list on the application is provided as shown at left.
“As we’ve seen around the world in recent years, social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity,” a CHEKA apparatchik said. “This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil.”
Can you even imagine the chilling effect of this on already heavily censored social media? And who or what does the scrutiny? Not so hard to figure that out.
Can you even imagine the bureaucratic nightmare involved with conducting these investigations into the ramblings of millions on social media? Even if entry is granted, how long is the process?
And will it really detour bad actors from entering the U.S. illegally? Will it be effective enforcement against illegals already in the U.S.? Of course not. They will stay in the sanctuary cities and ignore it. Instead, it will add to the trade war snowballing effects and shut down normal commerce and travel, effectively eviscerating tourism in a paranoid bid to lock the country down into a Stasi police state.
And once the precedence is set, the next step in this slippery step will be to apply it to American citizens as a pre-crime measure.
And have the inmates who are running the insane asylum calculated the strong tendency of other countries to engage in reciprocity against U.S. citizens now? You think as a U.S. traveler you will be able to show up to enter other countries whose citizens are being impacted? Trump keeps playing in a vacuum unilateral 4-D chess in a quick draw world of blowbacks and paybacks.
China issued a warning on Monday to its students studying in the U.S. China’s foreign ministry and its embassy cautioned travelers to raise their safety awareness and respond”actively and appropriately” to “harassment” in the form of immigration checks and home interviews, according to the South China Morning Post.
You will see business, travel and tourism take the global economy down to the mat. The latest economic releases are extremely weak. Headline PMI (manufacturing) fell to its lowest level since September 2009 as output growth eased (with output expectations crashing to the joint-lowest since records began). Stagflation looms as prices paid rose.
The citizens of almost all countries require a visa to stay beyond 90 days, and many require one to enter at all. What a nightmare.
When I saw Trump, after his twelfth Diet Coke, unload tariffs on India and Mexico and threaten Germany over the weekend, I thought the risk for Black Monday in the markets was amplified. The mid-day ugly trading was curtailed when a Fed Reserve mucky muck engaged in their one trick pony- talk of rate cuts. The U.S. has issued sanctions and trade threats against 36 countries and counting.
Then consider the anti-trust moves against Google, Apple and Amazon. On Monday, Facebook (aka Fakebook) was added to the list of tech companies to be fined between $3 billion and $5 billion for these violations. This move against the mega-techs has rare bipartisan support. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, lambasted the fine as a “bargain for Facebook,” saying that doesn’t go nearly far enough in holding the company accountable.
But I doubt if the “analysts” have thought through this nasty Stasi policy. It will lock everybody down, including Americans abroad, and cut off any avenue for escape from the United States.