Is USCIS Monitoring Foreign Nationals via Social Networking?
As the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and others sites increases, foreign nationals should be aware that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)’s Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) has targeted social networking sites as part of its fraud investigations.
USCIS established the FDNS in part to conduct site visits of employers that sponsor foreign nationals for work-related visas. FDNS site visits are conducted to investigate immigration benefit fraud and to ensure that benefits are not granted to persons who threaten national security or public safety. FDNS also conducts what it calls "unannounced cyber 'site visits'" on petitioners and beneficiaries. In a statement obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), USCIS observed that
Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of "friends" link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends they don’t even know. This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.
So, is USCIS monitoring foreign national "status" updates? The answer is clearly, "Yes, they are."