Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) met with President Trump Tuesday and proposed a way to pay for the new border wall: end the visa lottery and “sell” visas for $1 million each to wealthy potential immigrants.
According to a Roll Call story, quoting the Orange County Register: “Rohrabacher pitched the idea during a 45-minute meeting with Trump on Tuesday in the Oval Office, according to accounts in California newspapers. He told reporters that Trump was impressed.”
Rohrbacher went on to characterize his meeting as a “wide-ranging discussion on foreign and domestic issues” with Trump, whose top advisors, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steven Bannon were also reportedly present.
“[Trump] was especially keen on my proposal to create a new visa program that would help finance the border wall and protect our country’s sovereign territory by charging wealthy foreigners to become citizens of the United States,” Rohrabacher said in an emailed statement to the Register.
The “visa lottery” Rep. Rohrbacher is referring to is also known as the “Diversity Immigrant Visa Program” (DV), designed to bring immigrants to the US from “low admission regions.” According to the State Department website, “Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. A limited number of visas are available each fiscal year. The DVs are distributed among six geographic regions and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.”
“We have 50,000 people come into the country every year chosen by a lottery, which is ridiculous. If we’re going to have people come in, OK, let’s choose the people coming in,” Rohrabacher told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday.
Another Republican congressman, Bob Goodlatte (R-LA), first tried to defund and then later to end the “Diversity Lottery” after one beneficiary of the DV program, 41-year-old Egyptian terrorist Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, killed three people in a terrorist attack at the El Al ticket counter at LAX in 2002. Although not a citizen, Hadayet was a “green card” holder, who had obtained a license to operate a limousine service out of his home in Irvine, CA. His failing business was one reason cited as a motive by numerous news outlets at the time.
In spite of the LAX terrorist attack that left three dead, and a 2007 GAO report that found pervasive fraud in the administration of the program at more than half the foreign outposts collecting visa applicant information, Goodlatte’s proposal to kill the program died quietly without fanfare.