Taiwanese travelers to the U.S. could face ‘extreme vetting’

Measures likely to apply to visitors from 38 visa waiver countries

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Citizens of 38 countries including Taiwan could have to hand over social-media passwords and face questions about their ideology upon arrival in the United States if the Trump Administration has its way, reports said Wednesday.

The measure is being considered by senior officials in the government of President Donald Trump and would apply to visitors from many countries that have visa waivers for the U.S., according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Customs officials could ask arrivals to hand over their smartphones to check them for stored contacts, while they would also request social-media handles and passwords in order to review privately posted information.

Critics say the measure might quickly lose its effect since visitors with something to hide will either delete all the relevant information or buy a separate burner phone before traveling to the U.S.

A second measure considered by Trump Administration officials is an ideological test, with questions about the visitor’s opinions on the role of women in society, honor killings, and legitimate targets in military operations, according to the Wall Street Journal article by Laura Meckler.

The list of countries whose citizens could face “extreme vetting” also included Japan, Germany, France and Great Britain.

Foreign visitors applying for visas to the U.S. would also face more questions about their intentions and beliefs, which could lead to more work for embassy employees overseas, reports said.