Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls on Department of Homeland Security to Immediately Require Social Media Background Checks as Part of Screening Process for all Foreigners Seeking American Visas

We write to express our deep concern regarding reports that critical background information of individuals participating in American visa programs has been largely omitted from the visa security screening process.

By - Dec 16th, 2015 09:05 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined over 20 Senate Democrats in sending a new letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson urging the agency to immediately require that social media background checks be a part of the screening process for all foreigners seeking an American visa. Senate Democrats also requested more information from the Department Homeland Security on the existing screening process, such as if the Agency faces any resource barriers to implementing these background checks, to ensure the process is as rigorous and comprehensive as possible.

The letter, led by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and signed by a total of 22 Senate Democrats, comes in the wake of reports that the female assailant involved in the San Bernardino terrorist attack may have expressed radical jihadist sentiments on social media platforms before her fiancé — the male attacker and a U.S. Citizen — ‎applied for a K-1 fiancé visa on her behalf.

The full text of the Senate Democrats’ letter can be found below:

December 15, 2015

The Honorable Jeh Johnson Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

We write to express our deep concern regarding reports that critical background information of individuals participating in American visa programs has been largely omitted from the visa security screening process.

According to recent reports, the female assailant involved in the San Bernardino terrorist attack may have expressed radical jihadist sentiments on social media platforms before her U.S. citizen fiancé, the male attacker, ‎applied for a K-1 fiancé visa on her behalf.  Media reports have also indicated that Department of Homeland Security officials are able to conduct social media background checks as a part of certain immigration programs, but are doing so inconsistently.  We believe these checks, focused on possible connections to terrorist activity, should be incorporated into DHS’s vetting process for visa determinations, and that this policy should be implemented as soon as possible.

Therefore, we request that you provide the following information so that we may work with you to implement a more rigorous screening process:

  • Do you plan to integrate social media background checks into the screening process for all visas?
  • Do you face resource and/or technical barriers to ‎implementing these background checks? If so, please describe them.
  • Does the Administration conduct social media background checks in any of the existing screening processes for visa programs?  If so, please describe how they are conducted.

Ensuring that the screening processes for our nation’s visa programs are rigorous and comprehensive must be a top priority, as these programs are critical to our security, our economy, and for our bilateral relationships with nations around the world.

We look forward to working with you to establish a more robust social media background check process for all visitors and immigrants to the United States.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI)
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME)
U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

Press Releases by Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey Introducing ‘Buy America’ Amendment to Water Infrastructure Bill, Call on Republican Leaders to Take Action

Republican House leadership removed the Buy America reform, which previously passed the Senate by 95-3

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Removal of ‘Buy America’ Reform in Water Infrastructure Bill

“By removing my Buy America standard, Speaker Ryan and House Republicans are embracing the status-quo in Washington.”

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Releases Statement on Nomination of Wealthy Insider with Deep Roots on Wall Street for Treasury Secretary

“Wisconsin families struggling to get ahead do not want foxes guarding the hen house.”

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Bipartisan Digital Coast Act Unanimously Passes the Senate

Legislation aids Great Lakes communities by delivering next generation coastal data

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Votes for Bipartisan Reform to Increase Access to High Quality Health Care in Rural Wisconsin

Rural communities in Wisconsin and across the country face many challenges in accessing high-quality health care.

Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Jeanne Shaheen, Ed Markey, and Joe Donnelly Call for Investments to Fight Opioid Epidemic in 21st Century Cures Act

In the letter to Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid, the Senators stressed the need to provide immediate funding to address the opioid epidemic.

See More Releases

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *