Washington: Calling terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov “an animal,” President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he will ask Congress to end the immigration lottery program, which he blamed for allowing Saipov to enter the United States.
“I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program,” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting. I’m going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program, diversory [sic] and diversity lottery. Diversity lottery. Sounds nice, it’s not good. Not good. It hasn’t been good, and we’ve been against it.”
Trump said his administration would seek to end what he called “chain migration,” and institute “a merit-based program, where people come into our country based on merit.”
Trump made the comments during the meeting in the White House, where he also said he would consider sending Saipov to the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while he awaits trial.
Saipov is suspected of using a rented truck on Tuesday to kill eight people in lower Manhattan, an attack that authorities have described as an act of terror inspired by ISIS.
Officially known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, the green-card lottery was written into law in 1990 and went into effect in 1995. Under the program, approximately 50,000 visas are awarded annually to applicants from parts of the world that are typically underrepresented in U.S. immigration.
Earlier Monday, in a 7:24 a.m. EDT tweet, Trump pointed the finger at Sen. Chuck Schumer for the immigration program.
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, responded an hour later, tweeting “I guess it’s not too soon to politicize a tragedy.”
I guess it’s not too soon to politicize a tragedy.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 1, 2017
And Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., came to Schumer’s defense, tweeting that the New York Democrat did away with the program.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 1, 2017