U.S. Border Patrol Checking Facebook Profiles For Political Views, Says Lawyer

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Officials are checking Facebook for users’ political views in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump‘s immigration ban, according to a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. According to a tweet by immigration lawyer Mana Yegani, border patrol agents are checking the social media accounts of people who are being held in limbo for approval to enter the country.

Checking Facebook for political views

The tweet, which was first spotted by The Independent, says the U.S. border patrol is deciding re-entry for green card holders on a case-by-case basis. Currently, the ban applies to immigrants of seven countries and almost all major tech giants, from Apple, to Facebook, to Netflix, and Google, have decried the move as “un-American.”

According to a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, the ban affects travelers with passports from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The ban also extends to green card holders who are granted authorization to work and live in the United States.

In an interview with CNET, Yegani said other lawyers have reported checking phones as part of the vetting process.

Yegan, who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said, “The CBP going through passengers phones from the seven banned countries happens when the individual is interrogated (put under extreme vetting).”

Also, it is in-line with a warning from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that says anyone can have their phone checked while at the border, notes CNET.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said that  border agents were checking the social networking accounts like Facebook of people who were detained. Then they were interrogating them about their political views before allowing them into America.

People getting detained at the border

Yegani told The Independent that she and several other lawyers have been fielding calls from people who were already cleared to live in the United States but are still getting stuck at the border. She said these are people who are coming into the country legally and have jobs here. According to Yegani, many green card holders who have the right to work and live in the U.S., were detained by border agents at American airports just hours after Trump signed the executive order that banned immigration from seven countries in Africa and the Middle East.

In one alleged incident, a Sudanese Ph.D. student at Stanford University in California who has lived in America for about 22 years was held in New York for five hours. In other alleged incident, a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen was not allowed to board a flight in Ottawa, says The Independent.

As of now, there have been no comments from the White House about the matter.

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