Heinrich, Flake Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Include Social Media Background Checks As Part of U.S. Visa Screening Process

WASHINGTON, D.C - Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation that would authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to search public social media profiles of any foreigner seeking a U.S. visa.

“Reviewing the public social media posts of an individual seeking a U.S. visa is just common sense in the digital world we live in today,” said Sen. Heinrich, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Senate Armed Services Committee. “In the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks and the ongoing threats that have us all worried about the safety of our families, this bill makes practical security enhancements that modernize our visa system, ensure it's rigorous and comprehensive, and are critical to protecting our homeland.”

“It should be crystal clear to those inside and outside of DHS that the agency has the authority to review publicly available social media posts when vetting visa applications,” said Sen. Flake.

A copy of the bill is available here.

Earlier this week, Senator Heinrich also signed a letter to Secretary Jeh Johnson urging his agency to immediately conduct social media background checks as a part of the screening process for U.S. visa determinations.