Social Media Surveillance Should Be Reserved For Neo Nazis, Not Immigrants

Today, nothing is more visible then your social media profile. It is a footprint of your thought process and your political and social leanings.

The DHS adopted a rule in the Federal Register allowing the surveillance of immigrants in the United States including those who have obtained U.S. citizenship through naturalization.

It is reported ISIS has widely and aggressively recruited youth for radicalization via the internet. For this reason, monitoring social media handles of suspicious individuals connected to possible terrorist plots seems logical. Unfortunately, much like the travel bans introduced by the current administration, there are no demonstrable facts tying all immigrants and naturalized citizens to online terrorism plots on US soil.

Instead, this far reaching surveillance measure only demonstrates another mechanism by the administration to halt demographic change in this country. Thus following the notion “If we cannot make them leave, we can make it darn uncomfortable for people to live here.”  As stated by a Trump supporter at a Trump rally.

Which is what this surveillance measure does.

An immigrant that is not able to communicate freely (due to the knowledge that their personal information on social media has been filed with DHS) restricts their ability to engage, thrive and quite honestly - reside in the United States. This is in addition to the fact that such surveillance paints immigrants as potential extremists to non-immigrant America.

One of the tactics the Nazis used to divide the country against the Jewish population in Germany was to create programs that isolated them in a lawful category of suspicious individuals. This included publishing names of Jewish individuals who were arrested, or convicted of a crime for all of Germany to see. The fact that an arrest without a conviction was published shows the intent to create a deceptive narrative. This is much of the same.

If we were to give the administration the benefit of the doubt that this is indeed  a measure to curb online extremism, then they must be reminded that there are currently over 100 hate groups within the United States including skinheads, white supremacists, neo Nazis and neo confederates all communicating over online chatrooms.

The rise of hate crimes has exponentially escalated against the immigrant population in the last three years including anti Semitic and anti Muslim crimes. Domestic terrorism on US soil has been predominantly carried out white Caucasian males in the last 5 years according the Southern Poverty Law Center. How is the administration effectively gathering their social media accounts? Is it a fair option since these hate groups have publicly supported the current administration to require intake forms at Trump rallies to monitor extremist social media activity? Of course not, that would paint all Trump supporters as neo-Nazis and isolate them from the rest of the country unjustly. And that right should also be reserved for the over 20 million naturalized immigrants in the United States.