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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."

© 2021 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume , Number 306
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About this Author

Multinational companies need to relocate workers from abroad to the United States, and U.S. companies look abroad to find the most qualified workers. Moving people across borders raises highly technical issues involving visas, work authorization and taxation. Complying with immigration requirements can be challenging and time-consuming. In the post September 11 world, additional complexity and new governmental requirements mean both large and small organizations need skilled immigration counsel more than ever. 

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