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New information request may appear on DHS screening tool

One of the primary goals of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies dealing with immigration issues is to protect the country from those who would threaten its safety. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there are exceptions to some of the rules, and these allow citizens of 38 other countries to enter the country legally without applying for a visa. These are outlined in the Visa Waiver Program.

Business-related visits limited to 90 days or fewer may be permitted for people from approved countries who have not gone through the visa application process. This option is available to holders of e-passports. The waiver also extends to those who plan to travel to the United States as tourists, within the same time limits. Visitors must apply through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and officials of the CBP use this information when they are making the decision to allow entry.

According to National Public Radio, the process may soon include a request for social media information, although a foreign national who does not complete the fields on the online form would not automatically become inadmissible. Those who wish to make comments about the proposed change may do so until mid-August. Critics claim the request from DHS may be an example of government intrusion, and that those with something to hide will simply decide not to participate. However, proponents of the addition believe the ability to review a person’s online presence would allow officials to make better decisions about eligibility. 

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