Trump’s DHS Is Keeping Track of Immigrants’ Social-Media Handles

The Trump Administration is adding social-media handles to data about immigrants being stored in electronic files in an effort to prevent terrorism, prompting concern among rights groups that the practice could chill free speech.

The Department of Homeland Security included social-media user names in an expanded list of records being kept on non-citizens, which also includes “aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.” The amended privacy notice, required under federal law, takes effect Oct. 18, but DHS says social-media handles are already being collected.

“DHS, in its law-enforcement and immigration-process capacity, has and continues to monitor publicly available social media to protect the homeland,” Joanne Talbot, a spokeswoman for the agency, said Wednesday in an email.

“This would undoubtedly have a chilling effect on the free speech that’s expressed every day on social media,” Faiz Shakir, the American Civil Liberties Union’s national political director, said in a statement.

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