Many Americans use social media to share and get information, and to stay in touch with family and friends. Increasingly, the government is also using social media to share information and to help keep the public informed. A number of immigration agencies in the US have social networking sites and a social networking presence. This gives immigrants and immigration applicants a new way to ask questions and to get information.
The USCIS, for example, has a strong social networking presence. The agency has a blog, which includes posts that are of interest to immigrants and immigrant applicants. As well, the USCIS has a Twitter account (@uscis). As of early June 2011, the USCIS Twitter account had 7,222 and afforded a unique opportunity to ask questions. The USCIS also has a YouTube channel, where the agency posts public service announcements and video ads for initiatives and other projects.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also has a strong presence online and in terms of social networking. The agency offers RSS feeds for information and news as well as a blog which lists the latest news and information from the DHS. The Department of Homeland Security even has a Facebook page and a Twitter account . DHS is also on the ning network a less well-known but still very useful social networking site that allows for plenty of interaction. The DHS National Terrorism Advisory System is on Twitter and provides up-to-date information about terrorist threats in the US. The DHS even maintains a website of all the social media used by other government departments . Finally, the DHS maintains a YouTube channel, filled with informative videos and speeches as well as videos of meetings.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a mobile website, as wall as widgets for use on your website or blog , and a Facebook page . These can be great ways to get more information about the agency and even to ask questions about ICE.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and other government agencies have noted their interest in using social networking to fight immigration fraud. Therefore, if you are applying for immigration processes or are petitioning the USCIS, carefully consider your own social network image. If you claim to be married to a US citizen but your social networking sites show you with other partners, you may have a harder time claiming that you are not committing immigration fraud.