Tuesday, January 31, 2017

US border patrol 'checking people's Facebook for political views'

Several detainees from the seven countries banned by President Trump and an immigration lawyer have confirmed that US border agents are checking people’s Facebook pages for their political views before allowing them into the country.

According to Houston-based lawyer, Mana Yegani, several green card holders detained by border agents at American airports were asked for their social media particulars.

The seven countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban also extends to green card holders who are granted authorization to live and work in the United States, according to a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (Alia), said border agents were checking the social media accounts of those detained and interrogating them about their political views before allowing them into the US.

"These are people that are coming in legally. They have jobs here and they have vehicles here," said Yegani.

Several immigration organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLA) have launched a lawsuit in New York on behalf of two Iraqi men who were detained. One a former US government worker and the other the husband of a former US security contractor.

In Cairo, five Iraqis and one Yemeni passenger were barred from boarding a connecting EgyptAir flight to New York and redirected to flights back to their home countries, despite holding valid visas.

Dutch airline KLM said it had similarly refused carriage to seven passengers from Muslim countries because there was “no point taking them to the US”.

A female Sudanese PhD student at Stanford University in California, was held for five hours, despite having lived in the US for 22 years.

Another immigrant who is a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen was not allowed to board a flight in Ottawa.

A spokesman for the Alia said they had heard reports of people’s social media accounts being targeted – this tactic had been used by border agents for several years despite doubts over whether it is constitutional.

Source: independent.co.uk

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