In the wake of the New York attacks by an immigrant in the country with a diversity visa, President Trump leverages the event to move immigration to a merit-based system. The lottery program, in effect for the last 25 years, opens immigration opportunity to countries with low rates of nationals coming to the United States.
Pressing ahead to gain support for a merit-based system, the president is working to rally supporters. In an e-mail soliciting signatures on a petition calling for Congress to end the program, President Trump describes the diversity lottery as a “politically correct government program that selects new immigrants at random with no other purpose than to fill quotas.”
Immigration reform and border security have been at the top of the president’s agenda since his candidacy.
Since taking office 10 months ago, he’s introduced travel bans and extreme vetting to limit and verify the identities of people entering the United States. Opposition to the travel ban executive orders has resulted in federal lawsuits challenging the orders.
But legal challenges have not swayed the president’s efforts. “I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program,” President Trump told White House reporters on the day after the New York City attack. “It sounds nice. It’s not nice,” he says of the program. “It’s not good.”
New York Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer is one official in President Trump’s sites. Schumer was one of the lawmakers who spearheaded the program decades ago. Pointing a figure directly at the senator, President Trump referred to the tragedy as a “Chuck Schumer beauty.”
On the other hand, the senator was also one of the Gang of Eight– a group of lawmakers tasked with an overhaul of the nation’s immigration framework in 2013. Proposals put forward by the group of lawmakers included an end to the green card lottery, something Schumer supported.
For his part, Schumer appears focused on the immigration system as a whole. “I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America,” according to a reported statement by the senator. “President Trump, instead of politicizing and diving America, which he always seems to do at time of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution– anti-terrorism funding– which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget.”
Thus far, Trump Administration officials are working to improve communication between law enforcement agencies in various countries and also enforcing biometric passports, which are extremely difficult to forge. Currently, the president is engaging with national security officials for a “look and see” to determine other potential security measures.