President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will ask lawmakers to close down an immigrant visa program that sets aside green cards for people from countries that don’t typically send many immigrants to the U.S.
After the terror attack in New York City on Tuesday, Trump revealed that the perpetrator had entered the U.S. in 2010 through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The program uses a random lottery drawing to award up to 50,000 green cards to applicants from countries with historically low levels of immigration.
Trump criticized the program Wednesday, saying he is “fighting hard” for an end to “Democrat Lottery Systems.”
Speaking to reporters at the outset of a cabinet meeting, Trump said he will ask Congress to “immediately” begin work to terminate the Diversity Visa program, according to the Associated Press. He said the administration will “take all necessary steps to protect our people.”
The Diversity Visa has suddenly come under intense scrutiny in the wake of Tuesday’s attack. Along with Trump, many Republican lawmakers are questioning the program’s utility and touting bills that would do away with it.
Meanwhile, Democrats are accusing Republicans of exploiting the terror attack to advance their immigration policy preferences. Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Trump is taking “horrible advantage, of a tragedy” and trying “to politicize and divide.”
“It doesn’t work with New Yorkers and it doesn’t work with Americans,” he said, according to the AP.
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