What is extreme vetting?
Earlier this year, when President Trump introduced his immigration ban plans, it presented the idea that extreme vetting would be carried out before people were allowed into the United States. But, what is extreme vetting and is it something which could become more commonplace? Here’s the facts:
WHAT IS TRADITIONAL VETTING?
Vetting is the act of carrying out checks in order to establish facts or understanding about a person. Carrying out vetting before you give someone a job, or before someone is promoted within an organisation, is essential. Checks enable you to ensure that someone is who they say they are, have the correct status, address and education or employment history.
WHAT IS THE US IMMIGRATION BAN?
When the Immigration ban was introduced in the United States, President Trump said that it was designed to introduce extreme vetting measures for people entering from certain countries. The ban promptly got halted as Appeal courts found it to be un-imposable, although at time of publication, discussions are still ongoing and Trump hopes to get it re-instated.
The ban specified that people from certain countries would not be permitted into the United States for a period of between 90 – 120 days while the Government worked up an extreme vetting plan. That plan has yet to be revealed.
The reason for the ban on entry from certain countries is that vetting relies on having access to information. When you are vetting someone who lives in the same country that information is easy to access. However, if you are vetting someone who comes from another country, particularly countries such as Iran, Iraq or Syria where information about a person is not readily gathered, the task is much more difficult and that is why they want to impose extreme vetting.
WHAT COULD EXTREME VETTING INCLUDE?
According to the Wall Street Journal, extreme vetting could mean that everyone who enters the United States would have to share their phone contacts, social media passwords and financial data. There could also be questions about ideology as America takes a more sceptical view over visitors, rather than continuing their ‘everyone welcome’ approach.
Interestingly, it’s thought that these measures could be faced by any foreign national, including citizens from countries like Great Britain.
Speaking to a homeland security committee a Department of Homeland Security official said that if people did not comply – they would not be coming in.
The plans have been met with a hostile reception with a group of human rights and civil liberties groups coming together to issue a joint statement which said: “This proposal would enable border officials to invade people’s privacy by examining years of private emails, texts, and messages.
“It would expose travellers and everyone in their social networks, including potentially millions of US citizens, to excessive, unjustified scrutiny. And it would discourage people from using online services or taking their devices with them while traveling, and would discourage travel for business, tourism and journalism.”
Time, and the legal process, will see whether these extreme vetting solutions are ever brought in.