A new Donald Trump administration proposal for vetting visitors to the United States has people concerned that it may be going too far.
The Evening Standard in the UK reports the proposal includes visa applicants being questioned about their stance on abortion and other ideological issues, as well as being required to hand over their social media passwords and smartphones for review. The government also could ask travelers for financial data, phone contacts and other information under the proposal.
The measures are being proposed as a way to increase national security; however, they only are being considered at this point.
Here’s more from the report:
Gene Hamilton, senior counsellor for homeland security secretary John Kelly, told the Wall Street Journal,: “If there is any doubt about a person’s intentions coming to the United States, they should have to overcome – really and truly prove to our satisfaction – that they are coming for legitimate reasons.”
The plans could also see visa applicants quizzed on ideological issues including whether they believe in the “sanctity of life” – a phrase used by US right-wingers in the abortion debate – and honour killings, the paper reported.
British media outlets report the measures could affect travelers from their country and other countries that have strong relationships with the United States.
Civil liberties groups said the measure would be an unjustifiable government overreach and would violate people’s privacy. Many have described the plan as “extreme vetting.” Others said foreign countries could retaliate by requiring similar vetting for U.S. travelers seeking visas in their countries.
While the Trump administration is friendly to pro-lifers, future administrations may not be. Having such rules in place could set a precedent that future administrations could use to discriminate against pro-life individuals.