Washington, DC – Today, Muslim Advocates along with a coalition of 29 civil rights and civil liberties organizations filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release detailed information concerning their “Extreme Vetting Initiative,” which involves a number of invasive and troubling practices, including social media monitoring of visa applicants and visa holders.
The “Extreme Vetting Initiative,” which is sometimes referred to as “Visa Lifecycle Vetting,” purports to screen non-citizens for deportations or visa denial based on broad and vague criteria, such as being “a positively contributing member of society,” or whether the person makes “contributions to the national interest.”
“The Extreme Vetting Initiative is just this administration’s latest effort to target, profile, and discriminate against immigrant communities,” said Matthew Callahan, staff attorney at Muslim Advocates. “We hope that today’s request will reveal critically important information about the federal government’s efforts and provide much-needed transparency about this troubling program.”
The organizations who have joined today’s request include: 18MillionRising.org, Access Now, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Friends Service Committee, Arab American Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Center for Democracy & Technology, Center for Media Justice (CMJ), Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Free Press, Government Information Watch, Identity Project, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Japanese American Citizens League, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Legal Aid Justice Center, Muslim Justice League, Muslim Public Affairs Council, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Immigration Law Center, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Open MIC (Open Media and Information Companies Initiative), Open the Government, Project On Government Oversight, and Restore the Fourth, Inc.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.