Thomas Gallatin / Nov. 2, 2017

The Real Problem With the Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Government officials have long warned that the program is a serious security threat.

“Diversity lottery. Sounds nice. It’s not nice. It’s not good. It hasn’t been good. We’ve been against it,” Donald Trump stated. “We have to get much tougher. We have to get much smarter. And we have to get much less politically correct,” he continued. On Wednesday, Trump singled out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for his role in propping up the State Department program known as the Diversity Visa Lottery, which allowed the New York City terrorist to enter the country seven years ago. Trump tweeted, “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”

Also on Wednesday, several senators took up Trump’s call to end the Diversity Visa Lottery, created in 1990. “We ought to be more focused and more merit-oriented when it comes to our immigration program. There’s always going to have to be a combination of family-based immigration, but we also ought to reward people who we want to see come to this country and help us grow our economy,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) stated. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) echoed his comments, saying, “Count me in for wanting to eliminate the lottery system for merit-based immigration.”

Even Democrats were scrambling to distance themselves from a law they have long defended. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) sought to shift blame to Republicans for killing “comprehensive” immigration reform: “Of course we would [be open to eliminating the program]. Let me just tell you something: That was part of the [comprehensive immigration] reform [bill].” Schumer, who had his hand in creating the DV program in 1990, blamed Trump for politicizing the terror attack while other top House Democrats blasted Trump for seeking “to further his anti-immigration agenda.” Democrats never have a problem politicizing gun control after a shooting.

Back in 2010, there were clear warnings that the Diversity Visa Lottery was dangerous due to the fact that it essentially created a loophole through which individuals from terror-watch-list countries could gain entry into the U.S. Several lawmakers at the time warned that the program posed a “serious national threat.” As far back as 2004, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General deputy inspector testified that the “program contains significant vulnerabilities to national security as hostile intelligence officers, criminals and terrorists attempt to use it to enter the United States as permanent residents.”

Yet over the years Democrats have repeatedly defended the program. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) in 2007 argued, “The Diversity Visa Program is the chance for many people of color around the world to immigrate to the United States and pursue the same American dream that many of the ancestors of the members [of Congress] here were able to pursue.” In 2006, Schumer himself said, “This is an excellent program, and nobody has said it has done a bad job. It’s small; only about 50,000 visas a year… As I ride my bike around New York City on the weekends, I see what immigrants do for America and this program has dramatically helped.” The part about riding bikes is grotesquely ironic given the fact that the truck-driving terrorist plowed over bike-riding victims.

What is clear is that America’s immigration system needs serious reform. Too much of the current system has been designed by Democrats for the sole purpose of building their own party base rather than to establish an immigration system that prioritizes the rights and concerns of American citizens. Too often the idea expressed by lawmakers is that non-citizens have a right to emigrate to America. No non-citizen has a right to live, work or emigrate to the U.S. But every American has a right to demand that our government protect us and our interests first and foremost. The focus of government officials should not be promoting virtues of diversity; instead, they should be committed to protecting and defending the constitutional freedoms and rights of American citizens above all other considerations.

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