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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California

REP. LIEU CALLS ON DHS TO REVERSE POLICY OF NOT REVIEWING SOCIAL MEDIA OF FOREIGNERS AND TO APOLOGIZE FOR MISLEADING CONGRESS

December 17, 2015
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County)  issued the following statement in light of today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on vetting terrorist travel for national security concerns.

“As a Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, I find it outrageous that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rejected a secret policy to review social media of foreigners seeking entry to the US through the visa program.  Based on an USCIS memo recently released by MSNBC and reporting by multiple media organizations, I am deeply troubled that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodriguez apparently misled the Committee today during his testimony when he repeatedly denied any such secret policy.

I am proud to be an American because being a citizen of the greatest country in the world comes with it many benefits, including the critical fact that the US Constitution applies to US citizens.  But the US Constitution does not apply to a foreign national seeking entry to the US.

Yet DHS apparently believes foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States have more rights than US citizens when it comes to social media.  In America, if a US citizen applies for a job in the private or public sector, their social media postings can certainly be reviewed.  The federal government also apparently reviews social media as a factor in determining whether persons, including US citizens, should be placed on the Terrorist Watch List.  

In a perversion of the US Constitution, DHS apparently believes foreigners seeking entry to the US have some sort of reasonable expectation of privacy under the Constitution.  They do not have those rights.  This is an urgent matter of national security and the DHS' current policy makes no sense. 

DHS needs to have a department-wide policy of reviewing social media of foreign nationals seeking a visa, and they need to change their policy NOW.  DHS also needs to apologize for the misleading testimony they gave under oath today to the Oversight Committee.”

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