Protesters gather at airport against Trump immigration ban on Muslims

Trump Immigration Ban: U.S. Border Patrol Target Social Media To Vet Muslim Detainees

Much like Trump, his immigration ban has reportedly created an international disturbance. President Trump has often said that he would enact an “extreme vetting” process for refugees and immigrants entering the United States, but until recently, he has been vague about the details.

In his first week as the President of the United States, Trump’s immigration ban began after he signed executive orders enforcing a temporary ban on Muslims coming from select countries. Now it appears that his “extreme vetting” process might include going through the social media accounts owned by those being detained.

The Independent reported that U.S. border patrol officials are checking Facebook posts for the political views of Muslim immigrants.

Immigration Ban Creates Chaos

Protesters pour into Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport against Trump's immigration ban.
More protests reported at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday. [Image by Ryan Kang/AP Images]

Even though President Trump’s immigration ban is said to be temporary, it has already created tension with various countries and American citizens. The Iranian government recently made a statement saying that they too would impose their own restrictions against American travelers in retaliation to the ban, as reported by the Inquisitr.

During Trump’s presidential campaign, his anti-immigration views were criticized by nations around the world, who were shaken by the reality that he had won the election. Refugees coming from war-torn countries had been pouring into Europe over the past several years, creating tension among right-wing groups and giving rise to their anger against immigrants. Trump has criticized countries who were accepting Muslim refugees even though he was widely criticized for it by other Republicans and the press.

Also while on the campaign trail, other Republicans — along with Trump, have publicly supported the surveilling of Muslim communities. At the same time, many who claimed their support for Trump have — as reported by Inquisitrtargeted mosques and Muslims for fear that they were linked to terrorism. Muslim organizations nationwide have responded with lawsuits against hate crimes and more recently, on behalf of some of the individuals who have been detained.

While President Trump was at the Pentagon this week, CNN reported on his clarification of his immigration ban, saying it was for national security.

“I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here.”

One detail of the ban was over green card holders which White House staffer Reince Priebus said during an interview on Sunday’s Meet The Press, were protected. This was not the case because as Slate reported, only days before, the White House had said that green card holders were impacted too.

Over the weekend, as reported by Inquisitr, a federal judge in New York put a restraining order on the President’s ban which he defies.

U.S Border Patrol Checking Social Media

President Trump holds up executive order signed at Department of Defense.
President Trump holds up signed executive order for extreme vetting with Muslim immigration ban. [Image by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images]

Much has been said about some of the countries affected by the Muslim immigrant ban, that holds business interests for President Trump, are exempt. While Trump claims his immigration ban is a matter of national security, it’s unknown, and perhaps too early to tell, if immigrants coming from more “favorable” Muslim nations are being asked about their Facebook and/or social media accounts.

Mana Yegani, who is a lawyer with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (Alia), says that they have received calls from those being detained by Trump’s Muslim immigration ban, who claim they’re being asked about their social media accounts and their political affiliations.

In the same article published by the Independent, Yegani says that a Stanford University Ph.D. student from California was detained for five hours in New York, even though he has lived in the U.S. for 22 years. She said that the border agents were checking their social media accounts and asking others detained about their political views.

One Alia spokesman said that border agents have actually been targeting social media accounts for years, but they have never been held accountable nor challenged as to whether the practice was constitutional or not.

Fortune also reported on a tweet by the head of the National Iranian American Council, Trita Parsi, saying that green card holders were being handcuffed and that their social media accounts were being reviewed. More specifically, however, rather than being asked about their political views, he claims that they were asked about their thoughts on Donald Trump.

During Reince Preibus’ statement on Meet The Press, he said that border patrol agents have “discretionary authority” in dealing with travelers they feel are suspicious. Various reports say that the lack of clarity over these kinds of details shows how unorganized the Trump White House is, which appears to add much of the confusion.

[Featured Image by Craig Ruttle/AP Images]