US Toughens Grant of Visas After First Attempt


Following the immigration veto of six Muslim-majority countries, the Trump administration has ordered tightening the granting of visas for security reasons. In a series of diplomatic instructions sent by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, consular services are required to increase scrutiny and review applicants’ past, including their history on social networks if they come from territory that has ever been Controlled by ISIS (Islamic State) terrorists.

The measure, according to US media, will apply to almost all of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. The 38 countries included in the visa grant program, which includes the European Union, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Chile, are excluded.

The order is framed by President Donald Trump’s obsession with securing its borders and minimizing overseas exposure. A move that has led him to make such controversial decisions as ordering the construction of a wall with Mexico, vetoing citizens of six Muslim majority countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen) or the ban on flying from 10 airports in Muslim and North African countries carrying electronic devices larger than a cell phone, such as laptops or cameras.

“Consular officials should not hesitate to reject any case that gives rise to security concerns. Any decision on a visa is a national security decision,” says Tillerson.

The scrutiny goes so far as to suggest that the interviews to grant the visa request the history of travel, addresses and employment of the last 15 years, as well as the emails, phone numbers and social networks used in the previous five years. This measure is awaiting further confirmation.

The memoranda provide instructions to implement Trump’s revised executive order of March 6 that temporarily prohibits the entry of citizens from six Muslim-majority countries and all refugees.

Immigration lawyers argue that such instructions could lead to visa applicants being examined on the basis of their nationality or religion and not because they actually represent a threat to the United States.