DHS to Store Immigrant Social Media Activity

How can immigrants protect themselves on social media?

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a notice that garnered national attention:  It intends to keep files on the social media activity of immigrants, including green card holders, foreigners applying for travel visas, and lawful permanent residents.  Immigrants across the country have reacted with understandable concern and fears as to this new level of intrusion of their privacy.  Our family based immigration attorneys at NPZ Law Group discuss the DHS’ stance on social media data and how you can protect yourself online.  

DHS Surveillance May Not Be New

While the public has expressed concern over the DHS’ notice in the Federal Register concerning social media activity, Homeland Security officials state that online surveillance is nothing new.  A spokesperson for DHS has stated that the government agency has monitored social media sites in order to protect national security since 2012.  

The DHS states that it will record and store social media data such as social media handles, any aliases, and other identifiable information concerning immigrants.  DHS is not collecting new data on naturalized U.S. citizens, but may still have stored information from when they applied.  Alarmingly for many, the DHS notice suggests that the agency may now share social media data within agencies inside of the DHS, which include Border Patrol.  

Protect Yourself Online 

If you are an immigrant to the United States or intend to seek a green card or visa to reside in America, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself online.  Consider foregoing social media accounts entirely to ensure that your privacy is secure. Social media accounts that may be monitored include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.  If you must have a social media presence, you may wish to avoid using your full name online and carefully weigh what you post.  Never use inflammatory language or post anything about what could be interpreted as criminal behavior.

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends, or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107).  You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at www.visaserve.com.