In the short time since Donald Trump assumed office of the President of the United States, he and the loyal robot posse that make up his cabinet have put forward a slew of ridiculous, unethical, and hateful laws and measures that are disasters waiting to happen. And they just keep on coming.
The Trump administration’s streak of outlandish maneuvers continued on Tuesday when the administration published a proposal in the Federal Register that would have Chinese citizens who hold long-term US business and tourism visas be asked to disclose their social media handles before entering the United States.
The targeted group would be asked to answer this question online as part of the Electronic Visa Update System, of which all Chinese holders of 10-year visas to the US are a part of. The information disclosed could then be used by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to “evaluate” an individual via his or her social media accounts before allowing entrance into the country.
Jennifer Evanitsky, a spokeswoman for the CBP gave Politico an adamant assurance that “The collection of social media identifiers will not be used to prevent travel based on an applicant’s race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.”
“The social media provider will not be asked to violate any privacy settings or policies,” she said.
A 60-day open-comment period will occur on the Federal Register following the proposal in which the government is encouraging people to voice their honest opinions and concerns. Also meaning that our country’s new Trump-nation bigots will have a platform on which to post their hateful, nonsensical, ignorant, and racist remarks.
The CBP also added in a separate, written notice regarding the proposal, that revealing one’s social media information would be optional. Furthermore, refusing to give up that personal information would not negatively affect that person’s chances at getting into the US.
With this addition to the online registry being optional for the applicant, many are incredulous as to the actual usefulness of the sanction. Hiding information from the CBP would be as simple as omitting it from the form, deleting parts of profiles, changing privacy settings, or simply making an “oops, I forgot to include that one” moment.
However, others view this move not as innocuous, but rather as another way for Trump to incite hate in America.
“The Chinese community in the US appears certain to make a few ‘suggestions,’ as the proposal has left many spooked that the only thing it will do is contribute to a rise in anti-Chinese sentiment around the country,” online news source Shanghaiist wrote in an article Monday.
One advocacy group has already spoken out against the proposal. The Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA) told The Huffington Post earlier this week, “As a civil rights organization, we fear that proposals such as the proposed social media check will be largely ineffective as a national security screen and will serve primarily to allow the discriminatory targeting of Chinese immigrants and visitors at border checkpoints.”
The administration’s proposal is just Trump’s latest way to allow his followers to disseminate hate and racist ideology, and it is deeply concerning.