The list of questions asked of applicantas for U.S. visas goes on for page after page, including:
- Do you belong to a clan or tribe?
- Are you or have you ever been a drug abuser or addict?
- Are you coming to the United States to engage in prostitution or unlawful commercialized vice?
- Do you seek to engage in espionage, sabotage, export control violations or any other illegal activity in the United States?
- Are you a member of a terrorist organization?
- Have you ever participated in genocide?
- Have you ever been directly involved in the coercive transplantation of human organs or bodily tissue?
- Have you ever committed torture?
- Have you ever engaged in the recruitment or the use of child soldiers?
- Are you coming to the U.S. to practice polygamy?
- Are you a member of the Communist party?
Some of these questions are pointless. How many people have been denied admission to the U.S. because they volunteered that they were terrorists, torturers, or genocidists?
Others of these questions are vague, irrelevant, and/or intrusive.
Unfortunately, the list of questions asked of would-be travelers to the U.S. has grown ever longer, under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
In 2016, questions about social media identifiers were added to the online application for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a sort of short-form electronic visa used by tourists and some short-stay business visitors from most-favored countries.
Today the Identity Project and five other national civil liberties and human rights organizations — Government Information Watch, Cyber Privacy Project (CPP), American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Restore the Fourth, Inc., and National Immigration Law Center (NILC) — filed comments with the Department of State objecting to this questioning as unconstitutional and contrary to international human rights treaties and Federal laws.