ASAE has learned that the Trump administration is soliciting public comments on proposed “extreme vetting” procedures for foreign nationals seeking entry to the U.S.

ASAE is strongly supportive of appropriate screening procedures but is concerned that the changes proposed by the administration are excessive and could discourage business travel and tourism to the U.S.

The tougher procedures are detailed in a Reuters article, but would include questioning visa applicants about their travel over the past 15 years, their employment history, their family members, and their social media platforms and identifiers. The State Department has asserted that the stepped-up criteria would be applied to only about .5 percent of U.S. visa applicants worldwide and that the criteria does not target nationals of any particular countries. However, the wording of the announcement in the Federal Register is sufficiently vague to raise concern about who would be subjected to the additional scrutiny.

The Trump administration first floated the possibility of “extreme vetting” procedures for visa applicants back in March. ASAE wrote about the potential for tougher questioning in an Inroads article last month.

ASAE has continued to stress that security is vitally important, but that a balance must be struck between the need for appropriate vetting standards and the need to facilitate legitimate travel to the U.S.

If this is an issue that concerns you or your organization, the deadline for public comments is Thursday, May 18. To submit comments electronically, follow the instructions in the Federal Register notice.

If you have questions about this issue, email ASAE’s Public Policy team at publicpolicy@asaecenter.org or call us at 202-626-2703.