Congress Must Press Trump on 'Extreme Vetting' in Practice

For all its rhetorical flair, we know little about how extreme vetting is defined or how it's being implemented. That's why Congress needs to step in and provide oversight.

December 5, 2017
no ban protest sign

When President Trump ordered “Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program” following this Halloween’s terror attack in Manhattan, and said the next day that more rigorous vetting of people entering the U.S. would be “immediately implement(ed),” he was  affirming a policy he’s endorsed several times since his campaign began.

Despite the Supreme Court's decision to allow the ban to take effect while court challenges proceed, his attempts to impose a Muslim ban have so far largely been rejected by the courts and President Trump has tied it to extreme vetting: “The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into an extreme vetting from certain areas of the world.” But if extreme vetting is thus an important feature of the administration’s national security policy, what does it mean in practice? For all its rhetorical flair, we know little about how extreme vetting is defined or how it’s being implemented. That’s why Congress needs to step in and provide oversight.

In a Capitol Hill briefing on extreme vetting today, we’ll highlight a recent Brennan Center report that explores the security features of the U.S. visa system. Proposed and enacted changes to the U.S. vetting system under this White House have included: developing a technology that tries to predict the value of people’s contributions to society as well as their propensities for violence; collecting 15 years’ worth of detailed information as well as social media data from certain visa applicants and submitting them to a months-long interagency review process; considerably increasing the amount of paperwork and expanding interview requirements for immigration applications; toughening the standard for renewing foreign work visas; and reducing the rate at which visa applications are processed.

Read the full article on The Hill.

(Photo: AP)