Press Releases

Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduced legislation today that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to search social media websites and publicly available information of prospective foreign travelers or immigrants seeking to enter the United States. The legislation follows reports that Tashfeen Malik, one of the San Bernardino attackers, passed three background checks to obtain a U.S. visa despite having made statements in support of violent Islamic extremism on social media, because DHS does not routinely review social media platforms as part of its background check process.

“Following the tragedy in San Bernardino, we have learned that the Obama Administration has declined to review information available on social media platforms to screen for threats from foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States,” said Senator McCain. “This purposeful refusal to examine publicly available information defies belief, especially as we grapple with complex technical questions to address the problem of criminals and terrorists ‘going dark,’ or utilizing readily available encryption to escape court-ordered government search. It is unacceptable that Congress has to legislate on this, and that it wasn’t already the Department of Homeland Security’s practice to take such commonsense steps when screening individuals entering this country. This is just the latest, unfortunate example of this Administration’s refusal to proactively address very real threats to our national security. It is critical that we have the strongest policies and procedures in place for background checks that reflect the evolving security threats facing our nation.”

The text of the legislation is here.