President Donald Trump Wednesday announced he was ending the “Diversity Visa Lottery” program after Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York City was linked to an enrollee.
Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, from Uzbekistan, drove a rented truck into a crowd of people just blocks from the site of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. The attack killed eight people.
Saipov was admitted to the United States and given a green card under the program in 2010, which grants expedited immigration papers to people from countries with few immigrants to the U.S. The purpose of the program is to “diversify” the pool of immigrants entering the country.
In a statement made during a Cabinet meeting, Trump said:
I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program. I’m going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program. Diversity and diversity lottery. Diversity lottery. Sounds nice. It’s not nice. It’s not good. It hasn’t been good. We’ve been against it. So we want to immediately work with Congress on the Diversity Lottery Program, on terminating it, getting rid of it.
We want a merit-based program where people come into our country based on merit. And we want to get rid of chain migration. This man that came in — or whatever you want to call him — brought in, with him, other people. And he was a point — he was the point of contact — the primary point of contact for — and this is preliminarily — 23 people that came in, or potentially came in with him. And that’s not acceptable. So we want to get rid of chain migration, and we’ve wanted to do that for a long time. And I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. And we’ll be asking Congress to start working on it immediately.
There are bills already about ending chain migration and we have a lot of good bills in there. We’re being stopped by Democrats because they’re obstructionists. And, honestly, they don’t want to do what’s right for our country. We need strength. We need resolve. We have to stop it. So we’re going to get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible. He came in through the Diversity Program, as you know, and we’re going to stop that.
We’re going to as quickly as possible get rid of chain migration and go to a merit-based system. Terrorists are constantly seeking to strike our nation, and it will require the unflinching devotion to our law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence professionals to keep America safe. We will take all necessary steps to protect our people and our communities, and to protect our nation as a whole.
We have to get much tougher. We have to get much smarter. And we have to get much less politically correct. We’re so politically correct that we’re afraid to do anything. And that’s not only our country, that’s other countries too that are having very similar problems. And we have to get tough, we have to get smart, we have to do what’s right to protect our citizens. We will never waver in the defense of our beloved country — ever. And we’ll never, ever forget the beautiful lives that have been taken from us.
That was a horrible event, and we have to stop it, and we have to stop it cold. We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They’ll go through court for years. And at the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens.
We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place. And I think I can speak for plenty of other countries, too, that are in the same situation.
The program, created by Congress in 1990, has been in effect since 1995.