The Daily Iowan

Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

The second part of a three part series on free speech examines how U.S. immigrants are treated. New Homeland Security policies allow U.S. government to search social-media accounts.

Foreign+nationals+at+the+Krome+detention+center%2C+where+those+with+criminal+records+and+deportation+orders+are+often+held%2C+in+Miami+in+September+2015.+In+the+latest+Trump+administration+effort+to+spotlight+crimes+committed+by+immigrants+in+the+United+States+illegally%2C+the+head+of+the+Department+of+Homeland+Security+on+Tuesday%2C+April+26%2C+2017%2C+launched+a+new+office+to+help+victims+of+crimes+commited+by+immigrants.+%28Jose+A.+Iglesias%2FMiami+Herald%2FTNS%29
Foreign nationals at the Krome detention center, where those with criminal records and deportation orders are often held, in Miami in September 2015. In the latest Trump administration effort to spotlight crimes committed by immigrants in the United States illegally, the head of the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, April 26, 2017, launched a new office to help victims of crimes commited by immigrants. (Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald/TNS)

Foreign nationals at the Krome detention center, where those with criminal records and deportation orders are often held, in Miami in September 2015. In the latest Trump administration effort to spotlight crimes committed by immigrants in the United States illegally, the head of the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, April 26, 2017, launched a new office to help victims of crimes commited by immigrants. (Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald/TNS)

TNS

TNS

Foreign nationals at the Krome detention center, where those with criminal records and deportation orders are often held, in Miami in September 2015. In the latest Trump administration effort to spotlight crimes committed by immigrants in the United States illegally, the head of the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, April 26, 2017, launched a new office to help victims of crimes commited by immigrants. (Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald/TNS)

Lucee Laursen, [email protected]

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Every year, close to 1 million people immigrate to the United States, most of them seeking a freer and more prosperous future. On Sept. 18, the Department of Homeland Security published new rules in the Federal Register. This included 12 addenda that specified policies that Homeland Security will use. The new content released by Homeland Security was precariously vague, and it will adversely shift the way immigrants or potential immigrants are able to use social media.

Addendum 5 states in part that it will “expand the categories of records to include the following: social-media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.” This means that Homeland Security has the ability to investigate immigrants and potential immigrants’ social-media and
Internet history.

Addendum 11 states, “Update record source categories to include publicly available information obtained from the internet, public records, public institutions, interviewees, commercial data providers, and information obtained and disclosed pursuant to information sharing agreements.” This expands the already expansive reach of Homeland Security. Information-sharing agreements include all of the information that companies such as Google and Facebook have learned about individuals.

This is a clear invasion of privacy. Many people argue we are protecting our homeland by investigating those who want to enter. People are not wrong for thinking in this way. But if we believe we should do everything in our power to protect our country, where do we draw the line?

If we are doing this in an attempt to protect our homeland, should every citizen of the United States be subjected to these investigations? Should the government have the ability to hold files on every citizen and monitor us via our social-media accounts without any kind of warrant?

Most people and our Constitution would say, “Of course not.” But think about it, citizens threaten our homeland all the time. School shootings, terrorist attacks, robberies — the list goes on.

If the government can prove that these invasive investigations of immigrants can protect our country’s security, how long will it be until the government tries to persuade us that these same types of investigations could be even more effective if we were all subjected to them? Of course, this would take policy changes before something like this could be put into effect. But this kind of reasoning is not completely out of question.

For now, we must focus on the problem at hand. On Oct. 18, these new additions will be added to the already lengthy immigration-vetting process. It is unclear how exactly this will affect U.S. immigration. Adam Schwartz, a privacy and free-expression advocate with Electronic Frontier Foundation, said, “Many immigrants will be chilled and deterred from participating in speech and social media because they fear that the government is going to misunderstand what they’re saying.”

Comments

comments

About the Writer
Lucee Laursen, Opinions Editor
Lucee is currently the Opinions Editor at the DI. She has worked for the DI for three semesters. Prior to being the Opinions Editor, she was a columnist in the Opinions section. Lucee began her position as opinions editor in the summer of 2018. Comments comments
Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Elliot: Year of the Woman vs. time of the circus

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Kumar: Fresh produce and food insecurity

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Rosario: WOTUS reaction shows anxiety over federal regulation

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Jaimes: The New York Times learns the value of misinformation and the consequences of it

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Shaw: Stigma surrounding self-injury, suicidal tendencies must be eradicated

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Mahoney: What is the least-biased news source?

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Yerington: Online presence can cause issues for future careers

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Nadler: The babysitting iPad needs to go

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Banerjee: ‘Bojack Horseman’ and toxic masculinity

  • Laursen: Should Homeland Security prohibit free speech?

    Columns

    Newby: Suicide prevention comes from regular people