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NYC Terror Suspect Came to U.S. as Foreign Relative of ‘Visa Lottery’ Immigrant

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AP/Lai Seng Sin
Washington, D.C.

The Bangladesh-born terror suspect who allegedly attempted to detonate a suicide-bomb in New York was able to enter the United States as a foreign relative of an immigrant, extended-family member who had won a visa to the U.S. under the Diversity Visa Lottery.

On Monday 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a Bangladesh national, injured three individuals when he allegedly tried to detonate a suicide bomb in New York City in a planned terrorist attack.

In a statement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ullah was able to enter the U.S. in 2011 as a foreign relative after one of his family members was awarded a Green Card in the Visa Lottery.

Every year, the Visa Lottery — championed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — gives out 50,000 visas to foreign nationals from a multitude of countries, including those with known terrorist problems – such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.

As Breitbart News reported, Ullah was able to obtain a visa as the nephew of his Visa Lottery relative. This process of extended-family mass immigration to the U.S. is known as “chain migration.”

Chain migration allows new immigrants to the U.S. to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives with them.

Ullah came to the U.S. through the F43 visa, allowing him to obtain a Green Card simply because his father’s brother or sister had recently been allotted a visa under the Visa Lottery.

Under the Visa Lottery, 14,869 Bangladeshi nationals entered the U.S. between 2007 and 2012, as Breitbart News reported.

  • 3,518 Visa Lottery winners in 2007
  • 2,286 Visa Lottery winners in 2008
  • 2,663 Visa Lottery winners in 2009
  • 3,017 Visa Lottery winners in 2010
  • 3,090 Visa Lottery winners in 2011
  • 295 Visa Lottery winners in 2012

Since 2013, Bangladesh was thrown off the list of foreign countries eligible for the Visa Lottery because the country became one of the largest immigrant-sending countries to the U.S., with the number of chain migrants arriving from Bangladesh more than doubling between 2005 and 2016, Breitbart News reported.

Ullah is the second terrorist in less than three months to have been allowed to enter the U.S. because of the Visa Lottery.

Suspected ISIS-inspired New York City terrorist, Uzbek national 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, who is accused of murdering at least eight individuals, entered the U.S. in 2010 by winning one of the 50,000 visas randomly allotted in the Visa Lottery.

Researchers with the Center for Immigration Studies have estimated that the impact of the Visa Lottery coupled with chain migration has led to a flow of nearly five million foreign nationals arriving in the U.S. since 1994, a population that is larger than the city of Los Angeles, California.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.  

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