Things That Matter

The US Government Now Wants To Dig Through Your Social Media Accounts If You Apply For A Visa To Enter The Country

The U.S. government is continuing to put its limitations on foreigners. As immigration agencies implement mandates by the Trump Administration over who is allowed to enter the country, they are adding at least one more restriction that could be a lot trickier to monitor.

For people seeking a U.S. visa, they must now turn over five years worth of social media handles, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Unsplash

The BBC is reporting that previously, only foreigners that had been to countries where terrorism is rampant were told to turn over their social media information. Now it applies to everyone.

While the thought of an agent seeing embarrassing posts of you is enough to make you queasy, the violation of privacy is concerning many Americans.

This change in policy could affect more than 4.7 million people a year.

“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” a State Department official told The Daily News. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”

Some non-U.S. citizens are concerned that being vocal against President Trump might be enough to deny you entry into the U.S.

Credit: @cjwerleman / Twitter

The Trump Administration first initiated this proposal last year, and now it’s been approved. The new social media questions are in place for anyone seeking a visa to enter the country.

“This attempt to collect a massive amount of information on the social media activity of millions of visa applicants is yet another ineffective and deeply problematic Trump administration plan,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement last year, according to the Daily News. “It will infringe on the rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens by chilling freedom of speech and association, particularly because people will now have to wonder if what they say online will be misconstrued or misunderstood by a government official.”

READ: This ‘Roma’ Actor Has Been Denied A Visa For The Third Time And Might Miss The Oscars

Turns Out ‘Machete’ Director Robert Rodriguez Is Behind ‘Rain On Me’

Entertainment

Turns Out ‘Machete’ Director Robert Rodriguez Is Behind ‘Rain On Me’

As a director, Robert Rodriguez never fails to deliver.

From the hits of the”Spy Kids” franchise to “Machete”, the seasoned Mexican-American filmmaker has built a career on high-action movies that always deliver colorful punches. It’s why, when it was recently revealed that he added Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s latest music video collaboration to his lineup of films we were pretty surprised. And awestruck.

“Rain on Me,” is the latest Gaga X Ariana Grande collab to go viral and the first music video to be directed by Rodriguez.

Over the weekend, the second single from Gaga’s upcoming sixth studio album Chromatica dropped much to the delight of fans. The song, which visits the genres of dance-pop, disco, house, and electropop has been described by Gaga as a “celebration of tears” and has already received quite a bit of praise from users online. According to Rolling Stone, “In addition to Grande, the 16-song Chromatica will also feature contributions from Elton John and South Korean group Blackpink.”

Of course, over the weekend, fans could not get enough of the video.

Or the chemistry between the collaborators.

Check out the music video below.

Puerto Rico Is Planning To Vote On U.S. Statehood Once Again And Here’s Why So Many Are Against The Idea

Things That Matter

Puerto Rico Is Planning To Vote On U.S. Statehood Once Again And Here’s Why So Many Are Against The Idea

VisitPR / Instagram

Puerto Rican’s are no stranger to referendums. Since 1967, they’ve had five chances to make their opinions known on U.S. statehood and each and every time, their voice hasn’t been listened to. Congress has failed to take up the issue after each referendum and local leaders are often guilty of using the referendum simply to drudge up support for their candidates.

But this upcoming referendum is different in that it comes at a crossroads for Puerto Rican politics. The island has been plagued by natural disasters, political scandals, and unprecedented hate crimes. Even Bad Bunny is letting his thoughts out on the referendum and many others have lots to say on the issue.

For the first time in the island’s history, the referendum will ask a single question: Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted as a U.S. state?

On Saturday, Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood Republican governor, Wanda Vázquez, announced yet another vote on the question (the sixth since 1967 and the third since 2012). It’s a move that comes amid growing frustration with the island’s territorial government and its relationship with the mainland.

However, it’s a question that also outraged the island’s independence supporters and members of the main opposition Popular Democratic Party – which supports the status quo.

But it’s a gamble that members of the governor’s pro-statehood party are confident will pay off given that Puerto Rico has struggled to obtain federal funds for hurricanes Irma and Maria, a string of recent strong earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic amid growing complaints that the island does not receive fair and equal treatment.

“Our people will have the opportunity once and for all to define our future,” Vázquez said. “It’s never too late to be treated as equals.”

The upcoming referendum is just the recent in a long line of previously failed ones.

In the past, voters have been asked more than one question and presented with various options, including independence or continuing with the current territorial status – but none of them have ever been as direct as the upcoming one scheduled for the November 3 general election.

However, many on the island see the referendum as little more than a political move by the governor’s New Progressive Party to get voters out on Nov 3 – to boost her party’s candidates.

The New Progressive Party has been rattled with scandal after scandal and many are ready for change.

The past few years have not been good for the party – or the island for that matter. A string of devastating hurricanes, a severe debt crisis, ongoing corruption scandals that even forced a pro-statehood governor to resign, earthquakes, and now a global pandemic – have all led to challenging times in Puerto Rico. To some observers, the idea seems to be: Let’s dangle the illusion of a yes or no statehood referendum (nonbinding) that is already dead on arrival?

Many also feel that Gov. Vasquez is not truly authorized to make such a decision since she was never actually elected to the office. Instead, she became governor after Ricardo Rosselló was forced to resign following massive protests.

Meanwhile, the Republican government on the island doesn’t even have the support of the Republican-led federal government. The Trump administration’s blunt response was basically, “The first priority for all Puerto Rico leaders should be getting their financial house in order.”

This coming November, there will be plenty of incentive to vote “no” and punish the Vázquez administration. Even prominent figures such as Bad Bunny are jumping into the fray against her leadership.

What would statehood mean for Puerto Rico?

Statehood would award Puerto Rico two senators and five representatives, but it’s unlikely a Republican-controlled Congress would acknowledge the referendum because Puerto Rico tends to favor Democrats.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections. And while the island is exempt from the U.S. federal income tax, it still pays Social Security and Medicare and local taxes and receives less federal funding than U.S. states. Many believe the island’s territorial status has contributed to its struggle to recover from the hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as worsened its economic crisis, largely caused by decades of heavy borrowing and the elimination of federal tax incentives.