The suspected foreign national terrorist behind the New York City attack that has left at least eight individuals dead came to the United States years ago through the Diversity Visa Lottery, a program that President Trump and pro-American immigration reformers have demanded an end to.
According to ABC New York, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov — the man who allegedly mowed down pedestrians in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City — entered the U.S. in 2010 from Uzbekistan under the Diversity Visa Lottery before obtaining a Green Card.
The Diversity Visa Lottery gives out 50,000 visas every year to foreign nationals from a multitude of countries, including those with known terrorist problems – such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.
Trump, though, along with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), has been calling for an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery program since August. Under the RAISE Act, introduced in February and endorsed by Trump in August, the Diversity Visa Lottery would be eliminated altogether.
The Trump administration took eliminating the Diversity Visa Lottery even more seriously earlier this month when they introduced the president’s immigration priorities, which like the RAISE Act called for the elimination of the program.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Cotton said the Diversity Visa Lottery does not serve the national interest, as it arbitrarily rewards random foreign nationals with visas to come to the U.S.
“The diversity lottery serves no discernible humanitarian or economic interest,” Cotton explained to Breitbart News. “It is a policy that has far outlived its usefulness and it really doesn’t even serve diversity since Europe is one of the primary uses of it. Even in past efforts at amnesty-first comprehensive immigration reform like we saw in 2013 and 2007, most people agree we should eliminate the diversity lottery. I think it’s a policy that has far outlived its usefulness if it ever had any utility and it’s time to eliminate the diversity lottery.”
In 2011, just a year after the New York City foreign terror suspect, Saipov, entered the U.S. from Uzbekistan through the Diversity Visa Lottery, Center for Immigration Studies National Security Policy Director Janice Kephart testified before Congress about the security risks associated with the visa program.
“The Diversity Visa Program is an unfortunate blind spot in our immigration system that has outlived whatever purpose it might have had,” Kephart explained in her testimony in 2011. “The applicants for these 50,000 ‘visa lottery’ immigration slots require few skills. Neither their qualifications nor identity can be properly vetted. The program does not know, really, who these applicants are or their true purpose in coming to the United States. The program is a national security vulnerability and has been used by terrorists and organized criminals to not only enter the United States but to bring others in as well.”
“According to unofficial statements from the State Department, the program is rife with fraud in part because application standards are so low,” Kephart continued. “The program claims to have strict eligibility requirements, but only calls for a high school education or its equivalent or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience.”
“In most of the countries eligible for a diversity visa, neither education nor work experience can be verified, let alone identity,” Kephart stated. “Consular officers in U.S. embassies abroad thus spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to determine if people are who they say they are and actually qualify for the program. Checking watch lists based on names or prior U.S. immigration histories thus often has little bearing on making a solid determination of identity, qualifications, or legitimate national security concerns.”
Democrats, the Republican establishment, the mainstream media, and the big business lobby have slammed the RAISE Act and Trump’s immigration priorities that would eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery, Breitbart News reported.
In a statement following Trump’s detailed list of immigration priorities, Democratic leaders released a statement saying the White House “can’t be serious” with such reforms.
Soon after the Democrats’ statement on Trump’s immigration priorities, the mainstream media followed tune, with NBC News, the New York Times, POLITICO, and the Washington Post slamming the reforms as “hard-line” and a “posion pill.”
Just this week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted that he did not even bother reading Trump’s immigration priorities, calling the 70-point list that included ending the Diversity Visa Lottery “non-starters.”
As Breitbart News reported, the elimination of the Diversity Visa Lottery was supported by Civil Rights icon Barbara Jordan, whose 1995 immigration subcommittee found that the program did not serve the national interest of the American people.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.