U.S. targets Caribbean nationals’ social media

Author:  Gordon Williams
Social media activity by Caribbean and other foreign nationals residing in the United States, and those hoping to visit the country, will now be the target of closer scrutiny by the U.S. government.

The new initiative becomes effective Oct. 18.

Clare mike smlThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) want to gather additional information on immigrants and those in the U.S. who communicate with immigrants, including naturalized American citizens.

That includes “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results,” according to information from the Federal Register.

The decision has left observers in the Caribbean American community fearing intensified anti-immigration posture by U.S. President Donald Trump and blatant disregard for privacy by his administration. They hardly find the trend surprising.

“It’s an intrusion into your private space,” said Irwine Clare, a Jamaican American immigration advocate based in New York. “But that’s not new.”

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The DHS/USCIS noted that information gleaned from social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, can be used to decide who is granted permission to enter the U.S. and if those already living in the U.S. legally are eligible for government benefits. Overall, it will be used to track activities by immigrants.

The new rule has started to worry the Caribbean American community. According to Clare, it’s another effort by the Trump administration to blame non-U.S.-born residents for whatever goes wrong.

“So the management of this country believes the ills of the U.S. are caused by immigrants,” he explained.

While Clare and other observers believe Caribbean Americans are aware of what they believe is an anti-immigrant push by the current U.S. administration, he is worried the community has become too used to the current situation to push back.

“I don’t think we can be outraged anymore,” he said. “What else can outrage us? It is a way of life today.

“I think we, as Caribbean Americans, are resigned to what’s happening. It seems as if it’s not stopping food from going into our mouth then it’s no big deal. And that’s sad.”

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