Extreme vetting is immigration policy ordered by Donald Trump, President of the United States. Trump launched his campaign for president promising to build a wall on the southern border and explicitly labeling Mexicans as criminals and rapists. Soon after, he proposed banning Muslims from the United States. This anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, following his being elected President, has materialized as official policy. One policy is “extreme vetting”, so-called because the president began using this term during the election.
Despite the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of religion, the President of the United States has issued executive orders that have imposed sweeping, indefinite immigration bans that particularly target Muslims and people from Africa.
Travel bans were the first policies believe to be the materialization of “extreme vetting” into practice. While these were blunt tools used against entire nations, regions, and people, they were backed up with arguments that such actions would keep the US safer because the targeting countries produces more terrorists than other countries.
The cancelation of various Obama-era executive orders that sped up the processing of Visas have also been pointed to as examples of the “beefing up” of extreme vetting. These rollbacks give officers more opportunity to deny paperwork for vague reasons and slow down processing for all immigrants.
Most recently, “extreme vetting” has materialized since 2019 as draconian requests for lists with five years of social media account information from applicants. Ostensibly this is required because the information is required to keep terrorists out. In practice, this means officials reading through people’s social media posts and forming opinions.