WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is considering stricter vetting for all visitors, even those from close U.S. allies such as Britain, Japan and Australia, as part of anti-terrorism measures, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday in its online edition.
Quoting Department of Homeland Security officials, the paper said the department “is planning to significantly increase demands for information from all visa applicants, including visitors, refugees and others seeking to immigrate.”
Tighter visa screening might apply to visitors from the 38 countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, the paper quoted a senior department official as saying.
The program enables citizens of the 38 — including Japan and other Asia-Pacific economies such as New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, as well as many European countries — to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of up to 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa, according to the State Department.
For example, the department is considering asking visa applicants to hand over their telephones so U.S. officials could examine their stored contacts and other information, the paper said.
U.S. officials would also ask applicants to disclose their social media handles and passwords so that the officials could see information posted online.
The department is considering conducting an “ideological test” for people coming to the United States, the paper said, listing questions such as whether they believe in so-called honor killings, whether they value the “sanctity of human life” and who they view as a legitimate target in a military operation.
With the administration already drawing rebukes for Trump’s revised travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries, stricter vetting “would be sure to generate significant controversy,” the paper said.
The paper quoted experts as saying other nations could impose similar requirements on Americans seeking visas.
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