State Department Directives Describe New Steps for US Visas


The United States has told its diplomats overseas to identify groups whose members should be thoroughly investigated when they request a visa. The State Department sent a series of directives to U. S. embassies and diplomatic offices earlier this month.


The department told them to investigate the social media messages and activities of visa applicants. It said officials should be looking for people who are suspected of terrorist ties or of having been in areas controlled by the Islamic State group.


Another directive ordered embassies to set up security and intelligence working groups to establish guidance for" population sets." It said these measures would identify which people require a detailed investigation before they are permitted in the United States.


Even if someone is qualified for a visa, they could still be barred from entering the country if they do not meet the rules set by the working groups.


The directives are the first evidence of a Trump administration plan for the" extreme vetting" of foreigners before they are given visas.


Before becoming president, Donald Trump promised such a plan to American voters during the 2016 election campaign.

在成为总统前,川普在 2016年竞选期间向美国选民承诺了这样一个方案。

The four documents sent between March 10 and March 17 do not tell which" population sets" are to be given additional examination.

310日到 17日发出的四份文件并未指明哪些人群需要进行额外审查。

But one document says investigators should ask visa applicants about where they worked, who they worked for and where they traveled over the past 15 years. The document also tells investigators to ask applicants for all email addresses and social media names used over the past five years.

但有一份文件称,调查人员应该询问签证申请人他们在哪工作,为谁工作以及过去 15年去过那些地方。这份文件还让调查人员询问申请人过去五年使用过的电子邮件地址和社交媒体账户名。

The State Department said later it was withdrawing the questions until they are approved by another federal agency.


The Reuters news agency first reported on the series of directives last week.


Rights groups and others have criticized the directives and accused Trump of discriminating against Muslims. They note his recent executive order to block travelers from six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.


A federal judge has suspended the government's enforcement of the ban.


The rights group Amnesty International wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week. It said the documents" could provide license for discrimination based on national origin and religion. They could provide a pretext for barring individuals based on their nonviolent beliefs and expression. Social media checks, as well as demands for social media passwords at U. S. borders, have significant implications for privacy and freedom of expression."


Law professor Anil Kalhan leads the international human rights committee of the New York City Bar Association. He said the documents" will needlessly worsen visa processing backlogs" and may lead to applications for visas being wrongly denied.

法律教授 Anil Kalhan领导了纽约市律师协会国际人权委员会。他说这些文件“将会不必要地加大签证处理的积压”,并可能会导致签证申请被错误地拒绝。

Some refugee aid groups and even State Department workers have said the visa investigation process is already very strong.


Stephen Yale-Loehr is an immigration law professor at Cornell University's law school. Last month, he told CBS News" we have a terrorist watch database. We have known immigration violators database. We have a criminal background check database that they have to go through. They don't just take the visa applicant's word. They do go through all of these computer databases to verify for themselves that it's appropriate to issue the visa to a particular individual."

Stephen Yale-Loehr是康奈尔大学法学院的移民法教授。上个月他对 CBS新闻表示,“我们拥有一个恐怖分子监视数据库,我们已经了解了移民违规者数据库。我们拥有一个申请者必须通过的犯罪背景调查数据库。签证官不只是获取签证申请表格上的数据,他们会认真检查所有这些计算机数据库,以验证向特定个人签发签证是否适当。

I'm Dorothy Gundy.