DHS Set to Collect Social Media Information from All Immigrants

4 years 10 months 1 week ago Thursday, October 05 2017 Oct 5, 2017 October 05, 2017 9:57 PM October 05, 2017 in News

WESLACO – For 15 years, Edyberto Sanchez has called the United States home. He came to the U.S. with his family from Monterrey in 2002.

"My family feels that we have a better opportunity to move here," said Sanchez.

Sanchez said his family first came on a work permit. Two years later, he would obtain a green card.

"And after a few years I decided it was time to become a U.S. citizen," Sanchez said.

Seven months ago, his dream of becoming an American was realized. He took an oath to uphold the Constitution. The American flag now represents him.

"I'm grateful for this country and the opportunity that they give me to have a better life," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the pathway to become a legal citizen wasn't easy.

"It's a long process," said Sanchez. "First you do the biometrics, they check your fingerprints. When you check for the fingerprints, they give you a booklet with the questions and they tell you to study."

He was under a watchful eye until he took his oath to become an American. Scrutiny for Sanchez though isn't over as he first thought.

In just days, the Department of Homeland Security will begin collecting social media information from all immigrants. That includes green card holders and naturalized U.S. citizens.

In an e-mail, DHS spokesperson Joanna Talbot told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the move to collect social media information on immigrants has been going on for years. It's done to protect the homeland.

"There's a lot of ambiguity about that this notice means," said Hugh Handeyside, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Handeyside said there is more questions than answers when it comes to the social media scrutiny.

"Which immigrants it's monitoring, whether it's doing so continuously, how long are they holding on to this information? There are a lot of unanswered questions," said Handeyside.

The impact extends far beyond immigrants and those who are naturalized

"It has implication of U.S. citizens who are third parties, whose information could also be collected through this," Handeyside said.

Sanchez has mixed feelings. While he understands the need for national security, he doesn’t want his family or friends involved.

"So for me, it's a really hard topic," Sanchez said. "You want the national security, but you worry about how much your personal life is at risk."

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