February 07, 2018

President Trump Directs Establishment of Immigration Vetting Center

On February 6, 2018, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the establishment of a National Vetting Center to coordinate how government agencies share intelligence on individuals seeking immigration benefits or entry to the United States. The memorandum tasks the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence with establishing the National Vetting Center. These officials must submit an implementation plan to the President within 180 days. The National Vetting Center will then begin operations once the President has approved the implementation plan.

Once the National Vetting Center is operational, it will be responsible for “coordinat[ing] agency vetting efforts to identify individuals who present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security, or public safety,” according to the memorandum. A panel will be formed to review and advise on privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties issues that arise during the vetting process.

According to a National Security Official who spoke with CNN, the National Vetting Center will predominantly focus on screening visa applications from future immigrants, but will also vet individuals already in the United States who are subject to deportation proceedings. However, it remains unclear how exactly the National Vetting Center will change current vetting procedures.

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