Recently U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memo to its immigration officers explaining how to do “unannounced cyber site-visits” on petitioners and beneficiaries of applications filed with the agency. That’s right, Immigration wants to be Your Friend! Now Immigration intends to look at your social network to check up on you, and possibly use what they find against you in an effort to deny your application.
The memo advises immigration officers on how to set up profiles on social networking sites (e.g.. Facebook, Myspace, Hi5, Buzznet, etc.), and search for petitioner and beneficiaries on cases they are reviewing. This virtual visit, as detailed by USCIS, “provides an excellent vantage point for [immigration fraud investigators] to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.” You also need to understand that USCIS supposes that every petition presented to them is fraudulent, so USCIS will be doing their “research” on many different types cases.
Clearly, immigration applicants should use extreme caution (and common-sense) when setting up a profile on any social-networking site. Here are a few guidelines;
- Don’t make your social page public;
- Don’t accept requests from people you do not know;
- Don’t put yours or your spouse’s personal information on social networking sites; and
- Don’t address your personal, relationship issues, in the world of social media.
Immigration Officers have free reign to ask (almost) any question to a petitioner or a beneficiary at an interview. Adjudicators can come to your house and check on the “bona fides” of your relationship. Now adjudicators will also “follow” you on-line; but, do you really want to be their “friend”?