Newark, NJ- In a move to capitalize on the terrorist attack that occurred in New York City the day before, President Donald Trump urged Congress to eliminate the diversity visa lottery. The recommendation came after he learned that the Uzbek terrorist responsible for the attack entered the U.S. under the program.

In a video statement released Wednesday, via his Twitter account, Trump said, “I am calling on Congress to TERMINATE the diversity visa lottery program that presents significant vulnerabilities to our national security.”

The president’s call comes in the wake of the October 31, 2017, terrorist attack in the Tribeca area of New York City. Investigators identified the attacker as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, who entered the U.S. under the diversity visa lottery program.

Saipov drove a truck he rented from Home Depot onto a bicycle path near the westside freeway running over dozens of bicyclists and pedestrians. Saipov’s rampage went on for nearly 20 blocks and ended when he slammed into a school bus full of special needs children.

Nine people died, and 12 were injured.

After striking the bus, Saipov took off on foot and was eventually stopped by an off-duty police officer. Saipov was shot but taken into custody alive. He told investigators it was an ISIS-inspired attack, but they have not taken credit for it.

Investigators also learned that Saipov entered the U.S. under the diversity lottery program in 2010 but wasn’t radicalized until recently. He had been planning the attack for a year.

The White House believes that eliminating the diversity visa lottery is the way to prevent terrorist attacks like NYC one. Trump also suggested Congress end “chained migration” and prohibit immigrants from sponsoring family members for visas or green cards.

What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?

The diversity visa lottery is an immigration program that gives a small number of immigrants the chance to apply for a visa that allows them to work and live in the United States. Proponents view the program as an effective way to encourage diversity and invite people from countries with lower than average immigration numbers to come to the states. It gives immigrants from a diverse group of countries in Africa, Europe such as Bulgaria and Romania, and the French Caribbean who have fewer opportunities, the chance to immigrate to the U.S., to name a few examples. According to the Washington Post, two-thirds of diversity lottery visa recipients are African and Eastern European.

Approximately 50,000 diversity visas are issued each year, and countries that already send large numbers of immigrants such as India or Mexico cannot participate. It is a different visa because it is issued to immigrants who don’t have family or employer sponsorship. Immigrants are selected through a lottery and put through a rigorous background check. If they pass the background check, an immigrant is issued a visa and allowed entry into the U.S. and can apply for a green card. They can also sponsor relatives for an immigration visa.

Call an Immigration Attorney in Newark

The diversity lottery visa is just one of the many legal means of entry into the U.S. There are dozens of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas available to individuals who qualify. If you would like to learn more about a visa program or would like to apply for one let help you find an immigration lawyer.

We recommend you contact the Law Office of Eric Mark in Newark, New Jersey if you need help with any immigration matter. Visit his website to learn more or call his office at (973) 453-2009 and arrange a short consultation.