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Vox Sentences: Want a visa? Uncle Sam wants to check your Facebook first

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Oklahoma is on the verge of a teachers’ strike; the Trump administration wants to know what visa applicants are liking on Facebook.

School’s out in Oklahoma starting Monday

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Teachers and administrators serving 73 percent of Oklahoma’s students won’t show up to work Monday — unless the state legislature passes a significant pay raise by April 2. [Alexia Fernández Campbell / Vox]
  • Oklahoma’s public education system has been in rough shape for a long time; a decade of budget cuts have left 20 percent of public schools on a four-day-week schedule, and the state is ranked 49th in the country in average teacher pay. [Gene Perry / Oklahoma Policy Institute]
  • Teachers are calling for raises for state employees for the next three years, more investments in health care and pension plans, and for the state to restore millions of dollars in school funding that have been cut in the past 10 years. In total, the teachers’ demands amount to $3.3 billion in funding over the next three years. [Alexia Fernández Campbell / Vox]
  • Lawmakers, however, don’t seem anywhere close to meeting those demands. Instead, Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that would devote $447 million toward teacher raises, by increasing taxes on cigarette sales, oil production, and diesel — the first state tax increase in 28 years. [Jeremy Hobson / WBUR]
  • Fallin touted the bill as “the largest teacher pay raise in the history of the state,” and called its passage a “historic day” in Oklahoma. But the state’s Republican-led state house failed to pass a larger $700 million tax increase that would have gone toward teacher raises. Instead, their budget bill cut $16.2 million from the Department of Education. [Madison Park / CNN]
  • The teacher’s strike is part of what has become a national rebellion in red states, where state tax cuts for corporations and businesses haven’t drawn the investment Republicans said they would; the big budget holes have hit schools the hardest. In West Virginia, a 10-day strike won teachers a 5 percent raise, and now states like Arizona and Oklahoma are preparing their own fights. [Alia Wong / The Atlantic]

The future of “extreme vetting”

  • Donald Trump’s administration has proposed new rules requiring nearly all visa applicants to the United States — more than 14 million people — to submit their social media usernames for the past five years. [Sewell Chan / NYT]
  • This proposed rule would vastly expand the State Department’s first guidance — released last September — that required social media information from immigrant visas, which amounts to roughly 710,000 people per year, to all visa applicants coming to the US for work or pleasure. [Matthew Lee / Associated Press]
  • The administration hasn’t clarified which social media accounts would be subject to review, (likely Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, and possibly some international platforms like Weibo). But the proposal does stop short of asking visa applicants for their passwords, something Trump’s now-Chief of Staff John Kelly once floated. This won’t take immediate effect; there’s an open period for public comment, which ends May 29. [Alexander Smith / NBC]
  • Part of Trump’s “extreme vetting” initiative, the State Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement has long been working to incorporate social media surveillance in their repetoire. They’ve even been working with tech companies like Microsoft to develop algorithms to track potential threats on social media from visa holders in the country. [George Joseph / ProPublica]


  • EPA chief Scott Pruitt is under fire for renting a $50/night room in the Capitol Hill condo of a top energy lobbyist’s wife. But the weirdest detail from this scandal? Pruitt’s security detail once asked for 911 help, thinking he was unconscious. Turns out, it was just a really good nap. [ABC News / Matthew Mosk, John Santucci, and Stephanie Ebbs]
  • Stephon Clark, the unarmed black man fatally shot by police in Sacramento, California, was hit eight times from behind or from the side, according to an autopsy commissioned by his family. [NYT / Frances Robles and Jose A. Del Real]
  • Good news if you’ve still got Loyola or Villanova in your bracket: Catholic colleges really do excel at basketball. [NYT / Marc Tracy]
  • A Texas woman was sentenced to five years in prison for voting illegally. She was on probation at the time, and said she wasn’t aware she couldn’t cast a ballot. [Washington Post / Meagan Flynn]


“There’s so much drama going on with this story.” [EPA ethics lawyer Justina Fugh, on the latest EPA scandal, to Zahra Hirji / Buzzfeed]

Watch this: Why the Stormy Daniels and Summer Zervos lawsuits matter

Trump’s presidency may be in jeopardy even if the women are unsuccessful in court. [YouTube / Danush Parvaneh]

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