The Diversity Visa Lottery program which randomly gives out 50,000 United States visas to foreign nationals across the world is “ideally suited for terrorists,” according to an immigration expert.
In an op-ed, the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steven Camarota notes how the Diversity Visa Lottery—the program that allowed New York City, New York terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov come to the U.S.—is often a tool used by foreign terrorists to wreak havoc in the country.
The diversity visa lottery seems ideally suited for terrorists, as it randomly distributes visas to people who often have no family or other ties to the United States. Many recipients come from countries with significant terrorist problems and where fake documents and fraud are widespread. The lottery serves no rational purpose and Congress should end it as soon as possible.
Enacted in its current form in 1990, the lottery was meant to increase diversity by allowing more immigration from countries that send relatively few people to the United States. Often, citizens from these countries lack the skills to qualify in one of the employment-based visa categories. Besides living in such a country, the only prerequisites are a high school education or two years of work experience in a job that requires two years of training. The roughly 50,000 winners receive a green card (permanent residence) for themselves, their spouses and children. After five years in the United States, they can become citizens and begin to sponsor other relatives.
The whole idea was based on the very odd notion that every individual in the world should have some chance of coming to the United States. The interests of the American people were certainly not a paramount consideration when Congress created this program.
Camarota, who studies the impact of immigration on Americans, says multiple foreign terrorists have come to the U.S. on the Diversity Visa Lottery, including Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedaye who shot and killed two people in 2002, as well as Imran Mandhai, who plotted to bomb Florida power plants in 2002.
According to Camarota, the Diversity Visa Lottery serves no benefits to America’s under-employed working and middle-class, as the program brings in tens of thousands of foreign nationals with relatively low education rates and low skills.
“Given our modern economy, it makes no sense to run a program that brings in tens of thousands of immigrants each year, many of whom have very modest levels of education,” Camarota writes.
“Programs that allow in the family members of immigrants already here or that bring in skilled immigrants or refugees have their pluses and minuses,” Camarota continued. “But the diversity visa lottery is not about keeping families together, nor does it select people based on their skills or satisfy any humanitarian concern. Ending this ill-conceived program would be good for national security, workers, taxpayers and the country as a whole.”
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.