US officials checking Facebook profiles of immigrants: Report

Published On: January 30, 2017 01:12 PM NPT By: IANS

The US border officials are checking the Facebook profiles of immigrants before allowing them into the country, a media report said.

The move came in the wake of US President Donald Trump's executive order to temporarily bar US entry to refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.

The US officials are reportedly checking the Facebook pages of immigrants for their political views, The Independent reported on Sunday.

A Houston-based lawyer Mana Yegani was quoted as saying that several green card holders, who have the right to live and work in the US, were detained by border agents at American airports hours after Trump's executive order came into force.

According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (Alia), border agents were checking the social media accounts of those detained and were interrogating them about their political beliefs before allowing them into the US.

"I and my fellow lawyers had worked through the night fielding calls from people with legitimate visa being detained before entering the US or ordered back on flights to the Muslim-majority countries on the list," said Yegani, who works with the Alia.

"The ban has affected travelers with passports from seven Muslim majority countries and also green card holders who are granted authorization to live and work in the US," a spokeswoman from Department of Homeland Security said.

The ban on Saturday created chaos and outrage around the world, while numerous travelers found their access to the US territory blocked and protests were staged at several US airports.

"In one alleged incident a Sudanese PhD student at Stanford University in California, who has lived in the US for 22 years, was held for five hours in New York and in another a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen was not allowed to board a flight in Ottawa," the report noted.

"These are people that are coming in legally. They have jobs here and they have vehicles here. Just because Trump signed something at 6 p.m. yesterday (on Friday), things are coming to a crashing halt. It's scary," Yegani said.

The executive order bans immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen under measures to "keep radical Islamic terrorists out".

"I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US," Trump said on Friday during the signing at the Pentagon after the swearing-in of Defence Secretary James Mattis, CNN reported.

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