The immigration process opens you up to scrutiny by the U.S. government. Whether you’re trying to get asylum status, citizenship, your green card, or even just a visa, it is important to remember that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking at every aspect of your life to be certain that you qualify. This extends to your social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter for which you must disclose your user names (not passwords) to the Department of State when you apply for a visa. Unfortunately, if something looks suspicious on your social media accounts, it could result in a problem with your application. For that reason, you should keep the following things in mind during the immigration process.
1. Jokes may be taken “too seriously.”
When it comes to jokes about violence, gang affiliation, terrorism, or other serious matters, your humor may not translate. Immigration authorities are forced to take threats or other dangerous statements seriously, even if they are meant in jest. You should rid your social media presence of jokes about sensitive subjects.
2. Your social media should reflect your relationships.
This should be easy if you’re not trying to deceive anyone, but it’s worth saying anyway. The way you present your relationships online should reflect what you’re reporting to DHS. For instance, if you are petitioning for a green card for your immigrant spouse but you’re posting about “single life,” this will certainly be noticed.
3. Your friends’ comments are under scrutiny too.
Just because you weren’t the one who created the post doesn’t mean it won’t be looked at. For instance, if your friend posts something that hints that they are supportive of terrorism or gang affiliation and you share it to the public, it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t your post. It can still be grounds for this action to be attributed to you.
4. The past is still out there.
Don’t assume that something won’t matter because it was posted a long time ago. You need to look at all of your social media activity, not just the recent posts. You may have posted something questionable at some point that you don’t even remember!
5. Keep your settings private.
It’s best to keep your social media settings to private, rather than posting to the general public. There is no evidence to show that DHS has the ability to view any of your private posts to your friends. But having said that, you should still remain cautious and follow the tips above, even with your private posting.
If you have questions about how your social media can be scrutinized during the immigration process, the Heitz Immigration Law team is here to help. We have experience helping clients with all aspects of their immigration matters. Contact us today. We can’t wait to hear from you.