Published on : Friday, March 24, 2017
The Trump administration has demanded new security checks before giving visas to tourists, business travellers and relatives of American residents, hence making it more difficult for millions of visitors to enter the United States.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson sent diplomatic cables to all American embassies instructing all consular officials to broadly increase scrutiny. And, this is by far taken as the first evidence of the “extreme vetting” Mr. Trump promised during the presidential campaign. According to the cable, applicants falling within one of these identified population groups should be considered for higher-level security screening.
The new rules generally do not apply to citizens of 38 countries — including most of Europe and longstanding allies like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. The program however does not cover citizens from any country in the Middle East or Africa. Most people seeking entry to the United States, for family, business or tourism reasons, must apply for a visa. Embassy officials can deny a visa for anyone suspected of being a threat, conducting fraud or planning to stay longer than allowed.
According to four cables sent between March 10 and March 17, it seems the embassy officials must now scrutinize a broader pool of visa applicants to determine if they pose security risks to the United States. Although Mr. Trump has spoken frequently of his concern about the threat of “radical Islamic terrorism” from immigrants, it is unclear who, exactly, will be targeted for the extra scrutiny. Mr. Tillerson’s cables leave that decision up to security officers at each embassy.