President Donald Trump said Wednesday, Nov. 1, that he is going to end the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program’ in wake of the terrorist attack that took place in lower Manhattan on Halloween.
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump tweeted.
Schumer, who was a member of the House of Representatives in 1990 when the diversity visa program was created, responded by accusing Trump of politicizing the attack adding that the White House is also seeking to cut the federal counter-terrorism budget.
“I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America. President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — anti-terrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget,” he told USA Today.
Media reports are suggesting that Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect for Tuesday’s truck attack that left at least eight people dead and many more injured, arrived to the United States from Uzbekistan through the diversity visa program.
Trump called for “extreme vetting” after the attack and posted a follow-up tweet saying: “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee, responded to Trump’s tweet on MSNBC’s Morning Joe stating “there are legitimate reasons to look at how much should we take immigration, new immigrants on the base of diversity, how much on the basis of merit. But I’ve never really heard this made as a security argument. To use this tragedy in that way to push an agenda is not what the president ought to be doing right now.”
USA Today reported that Democrats have accused Trump, who made immigration restrictions and “radical Islamic terrorism” the major themes of his presidential campaign, of using terrorism as a fear factor to tackle the immigration issue in general.