Progressives and business groups are defending the visa lottery program which invited Islamic believer Saifullah Saipov into the United States before he apparently murdered eight cyclists in New York on November 1.
Republicans, in contrast, are reacting to populist pressure by stepping up their calls for pro-American immigration rules.
A native of Uzbekistan, “Saipov had been in the United States since 2010, and given that all green card categories are screened equally, it is highly unlikely that the fact of his status as a green card holder under the Diversity Visa Lottery is related to his subsequent terrorist act,” said a statement from the business-first advocacy group, the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The statement was posted by Hunter Hallman, who works for the BPC’s pro-amnesty, business-first advocacy section. Before joining BPC, Hall worked for the government policy office at one of the nation’s largest immigration law firms, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy’s.
The New York Times posted an op-ed backing the visa-lottery, which argues that everyone on Earth is entitled to live in Americans’ only homeland:
America is obligated to live up to its promise as a shining city on a hill for aspiring immigrants across the world … No person has a greater claim to the American dream than any other, and it would be uniquely un-American to systematically exclude the residents of some nations in an immigration system that disproportionately favors those who are related to those already in the United States … we have to remember that in America, you’re defined less by where you came from and more by where you are going.
The op-ed was written by another Uzbek immigrant, Machmud Makhmudov, who is now studying political theory at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. The op-ed suggests that one of his parents won the visa lottery 20 years ago.
The Democrats who support the program have mostly hidden from public protest. For example, hardcore partisan Sen. Chuck Schumer called for unity, not debate and reform, after the November 1 attack in his home state.
When terrorism has struck us in the past, presidents have brought us together. It’s a shame this president can’t. pic.twitter.com/d0olC9RK7T
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 1, 2017
But Republicans are stepping up their criticism of the program which randomly awards 50,000 visas to people from countries which have few immigrants in the United States.
“It is absolutely ridiculous that people receive a visa … not based on merit,” said GOP Rep. Dan Donovan, who represents Staten Island in New York City. He continued:
It is absolutely absurd to me, and it is coming to light since the tragedy this week in Manhattan because a lot of people were not aware how this monster got to come into the country … Now people are taking a look and asking ‘We really do allow people into this country because of where they come from?’ More and more of my [GOP caucus] members are finding that to be shocking, ridiculous and absurd.
The GOP caucus is looking to revamp the immigration system, as voters share their concerns about immigration’s impact on their families, said Donovan:
People are parochial — they want to make sure their children get a seat in the school, gets a scholarship, and if there is a job opening, that the child is given that opportunity. As sympathetic as folks in the street may be to [DACA illegals] brought here at an early age, they certainly are parochial and feel for their own children. It is a competitive world and there are limitations to the number of seats in school and scholarships and jobs.
Polls show the public opposes the visa-lottery program because it provides green cards to unscreened, unskilled foreigners who lower wages, reduce social solidarity and reduce civic security. For example, Saipov was picked by the lottery, and then admitted in 2010 even though his first name means “Sword of Allah.”
Business groups have allied with Democrats to strongly support the visa lottery, which adds at least 100,000 new workers and consumers to the economy each year.
Progressives favor the visa-lottery because most of the unskilled, government-dependent arrivals vote Democratic once they become citizens – but also because the migrants dilute the political and cultural power of conservatives in the United States. According to a progressive website, Qz.com:
Supporters believe the DV [visa lottery] program, despite its relatively small size is essential in keeping the US a truly multicultural society by providing an opportunity for people from communities that aren’t largely represented in recent immigration flows to have a shot at America.
The program was created by Schumer and other Democrats in 1990 to strengthen the immigrant ethnic lobbies which provide Democratic business elites with their voting power. The GOP’s business-first wing supported the 1990 legislation because it also boosted the annual immigrant inflow up from 500,000 to 700,000.
The visa-lottery program is also tied to the issue of chain-migration, which also provide green cards to people regardless of their skills, character, and ideology. The chain migration rules were built into the 1965 immigration-expansion law and are used by recent immigrants — including visa-lottery winners — to bring roughly 400,000 foreign relatives into live the United States, regardless of their value or risks to Americans. This annual inflow adds up to far more migrants than were envisaged by prior or existing amnesty proposals.
The huge inflow of chain-migrants has prompted President Donald Trump and a growing number of GOP legislators call for a reform of the visa lottery and chain migration.
“It takes ten years for someone to get into our country who can contribute to our country as a doctor, and someone’s cousin getting [special] treatment over that person doesn’t make any sense,” said Donovan.
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) November 1, 2017
The visa lottery awards green cards to 50,000 people chosen at random from countries around the world. Winners are screened for health problems and criminal records but are otherwise accepted regardless of their character, job skills or ideology. For example, Saipov was accepted from Uzbekistan in 2010, despite his faith in Islam’s hostile ideology, and his lack of skills. Once in the United States, he worked as the trucking industry, where wages for Americans and immigrants have been relentlessly pushed down by the huge wage of immigration since the 1990s.
According to the Atlantic magazine:
There are more than 1.6 million tractor-trailer drivers in the U.S. About 800,000, like Claudio, work in long-haul trucking, which is the industry’s largest and most important segment. Those drivers, who tend to be the least experienced, are driving more miles than drivers used to in the past, and earning far less. Forty years ago, truckers formed one of the best paid and most politically powerful parts of the U.S. working class. Today, according to the Department of Labor, the average trucker makes about $40,000. In 1980, according to one industry analyst, the average trucker was, after adjusting for inflation, making the equivalent of more than $110,000 today.
Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.
But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting 1 million new legal immigrants, by providing almost 2 million work-permits to foreigners, by providing work-visas to roughly 500,000 temporary workers and doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.
The Washington-imposed economic policy of mass-immigration floods the market with foreign labor, spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.
The cheap-labor policy has also reduced investment and job creation in many interior states because the coastal cities have a surplus of imported labor. For example, almost 27 percent of zip codes in Missouri had fewer jobs or businesses in 2015 than in 2000, according to a new report by the Economic Innovation Group. In Kansas, almost 29 percent of zip codes had fewer jobs and businesses in 2015 compared to 2000, which was a two-decade period of massive cheap-labor immigration.
Americans tell pollsters that they strongly oppose amnesties and cheap-labor immigration, even as most Americans also want to favor legal immigrants, and many sympathize with illegals. Because of the successful cheap-labor strategy, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and a growing percentage of the nation’s annual income is shifting to investors and away from employees.