Reuters reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who totally loves his job) issued a series of instructions earlier this month to U.S. embassies, one of which ordered officials to "develop a list of criteria” for "populations warranting increased scrutiny" in order to force them to undergo a tougher visa process. Because we all know how fairly that kind of screening has gone before for this administration:
The flurry of cables to U.S. missions abroad issued strict new guidelines for vetting U.S. visa applicants, and then retracted some of them in response to U.S. court rulings that challenged central tenets of Trump's executive order.
The final cable seen by Reuters, issued on March 17, leaves in place an instruction to consular chiefs in each diplomatic mission, or post, to convene working groups of law enforcement and intelligence officials to "develop a list of criteria identifying sets of post applicant populations warranting increased scrutiny."
Applicants falling within one of these identified population groups should be considered for higher-level security screening, according to the March 17 cable.
Additionally, Tillerson wants a “mandatory” review of applicants’ social media accounts from particular areas in the Middle East—you gotta wonder if tweets from his boss would pass muster:
He has also ordered a "mandatory social media check" for all applicants who have ever been present in territory controlled by the Islamic State, in what two former U.S. officials said would be a broad, labor-intensive expansion of such screening. Social media screening is now done fairly rarely by consular officials, one of the former officials said.
According to Reuters, “the population groups would likely vary from country to country, according to sources familiar with the cables, as the March 17 memo does not explicitly provide for coordination between the embassies.” Great, another unorganized rollout from the Trump regime that would specially target a lot of brown people. This should go well.
Roger Dow, president and C.E.O. of the U.S. Travel Association, issued a response to Tillerson’s instructions:
"The travel community has been deferential to this new administration, whose charge it is to keep us safe. So now we respectfully request public acknowledgement of our nation's interest in welcoming legitimate travel. Mr. President, please tell the world that while we're closed to terror, we're open for business. Imbalanced communication is especially susceptible to being 'lost in translation' -- so let's work together to inform our friends and neighbors, who could benefit from reassurance, not just who is no longer welcome here, but who remains invited to invest and vacation here."