Trump to work with Congress to terminate diversity lottery program
U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday said the diversity visa lottery program, through which the New York City attacker allegedly gained U.S. residency, will be abolished.
Authorities stand near a damaged Home Depot truck after a motorist drove onto a bike path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. [Photo: AP]
"I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity visa lottery program. I am going to ask congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program," Trump told a cabinet meeting.
"We have to get much less politically correct. We're so politically correct that we're afraid to do anything," Trump said, referring to the concept that immigration that increases diversity in the U.S. society should be encouraged.
The remarks came one day after a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan conducted a terrorist attack in New York City Tuesday by plowing a pick-up truck through pedestrians, killing eight.
Unconfirmed news reports say the man, Sayfullo Saipov, was admitted into the United States through the diversity visa lottery program, Trump said law enforcement agencies are looking into it.
The United States started the visa lottery program in the 1990s, allocating 50,000 visas each year to people from countries that have relatively few immigrants in the United States.
Citizens from eligible countries who hold a highschool diploma or two years in a professional occupation can put up their names in a pool which a computer will choose from.
Trump said he is considering sending Saipov to Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a prison set up in 2002 as part of the U.S. war on terror.
Trump called for a merit-based immigration system to replace current programs.
"We want a merit-based program where people come into our country based on merit. And we want to get rid of chain migration," he told the cabinet meeting.
"There are bills already about ending chain migration and we have a lot of good bills in there, We are being stopped by Democrats because they are obstructionists," Trump said.
One such bill, which two Republican Senators rolled out in August titled The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment, would curb low-level immigration by examining the age, level of education, salary, english proficiency of visa applicants.