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Employers Are Stricter Than Officials On Immigration Vetting

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Chances are if you are employed your boss has reviewed your social media, but in the case of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik and other visa applicants, U.S. immigration has not done the same.

According to a poll released by Jobvite last year, 93 percent of employers review a candidate’s social media habits before making a hiring decision.

But Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson refused to end a secret Department of Homeland Security policy in early 2014 which banned immigration officials from reviewing the social media of foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, according to a former senior department official speaking to ABC news.

Malik and her husband Syed Farook killed 14 and injured 17 in a shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 2. They were both radicalized Muslims.

The secretary was apparently afraid of “bad public relations” for the Obama administration resulting from changing the policy, according to the source. “During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” says John Cohen, former acting under-secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS. Malik was given her K-1 fiance visa while the social media review ban was still ongoing, all the while continuing to post on radical Islamic social media sites, communicate with terrorists and pledge allegiance to Islamic State on Facebook.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer spoke out against the appalling news, saying “had they (DHS) checked out Tashfeen Malik…maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive.” He insisted that DHS begin a policy to review the social media posts of visa applicants.

The news of the social media review ban is the most recent example of a trove of red flags missed by officials regarding Malik. Had she been applying for a job instead of a visa, her radical ideology and would have had a strong chance of being caught by a hiring manager.

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