What if there were a government program that allowed random immigrants to enter the country with a path to legal citizenship without thoroughly vetting them first?
Unfortunately, such a program exists. It’s how Sayfullo Saipov got into the United States in 2010. Yesterday, he viciously murdered eight people while carrying out an ISIS-inspired attack in New York City.
That a terrorist could take advantage of a faulty immigration program is a disturbing thought. We’ve seen what European nations have gone through as a result of lax immigration policies. There are several steps our government must take to protect its citizens from the threat of radical Islam, and ending this program is one of them.
This morning, President Donald Trump tweeted:
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.”
What Is the Diversity Visa Program?
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program provides up to 50,000 visas to immigrants from various nations each year. It is a random lottery tailored towards individuals from countries “with low rates of immigration to the United States.”
The program —created in 1990 by Chuck Schumer — allows immigrants to bring their spouses and minor children with them into the United States and provides a five-year path to citizenship. Once they have their citizenship, immigrants can import other relatives as well, including parents and in-laws.
Those who win the lottery undergo an interview with the state department and a health check, but it is not clear how extensively these immigrants are vetted.
Problems with The Visa Lottery
The Diversity Visa Lottery has its share of issues. It effectively provides a path to citizenship for foreign applicants chosen at random without any consideration of the benefit they can bring to the United States – which has earned the program criticism from many on the right.
But more importantly, it targets countries rife with Islamic terrorism. As yesterday’s attack shows, allowing immigrants from these countries under this program is a terrible mistake.
National Security Policy Director Janice Kephart testified before Congress that there are dire risks related to the program. “The program does not know, really, who these applicants are or their true purpose in coming to the United States,” she said. “The program is a national security vulnerability and has been used by terrorists and organized criminals to not only enter the United States but to bring others in as well.”
Kephart also discussed the difficulties involved in verifying the background of the immigrants who qualify for the program:
“Consular officers in U.S. embassies abroad thus spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to determine if people are who they say they are and actually qualify for the program. Checking watch lists based on names or prior U.S. immigration histories thus often has little bearing on making a solid determination of identity, qualifications, or legitimate national security concerns.
The Diversity Visa Lottery is unnecessary – and dangerous. Implementing a program that does not allow the United States to adequately check the background of those coming into the country makes it easier for individuals with malicious intent to enter.
We need to end this. While the left may protest the “political incorrectness” of such a decision, the reality is that the program does not provide an actual benefit to the U.S. and it will only put more lives at risk. The president has already stated his intention to end the program. Let’s hope Congress follows suit.