US President Calls for Tighter Visa Programs After NYC Attack

By Ella Bergquist November 7, 2017 2 min. read

After a deadly truck attack in New York City, President Donald Trump talked about demands for stricter U.S. immigration laws, asking that Congress end a visa program- the program that let the truck driver suspect into the country. The attack killed eight people that day, leading some authorities to believe it was a terrorism attack.

The suspect, identified as Sayfullo Saipov, entered the United States in 2010 through the diversity visa program, which was designed to provide a path to U.S. residency for citizens from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

The diversity visa program was created in 1990 and it consists of a lottery where up to 50,000 people are selected per year to receive the U.S. visa, and eventually permanent residence in the United States. The people selected then have to undergo security and background checks before being allowed to immigrate.

Trump has sought to increase deportations of illegal immigration and limit legal immigration since he first took office in January. Trump continues to believe that tougher immigration laws should be a first line of defense against attacks such as this. At the White House, Trump told reporters he was going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work in order to get rid of the diversity visa program. On Wednesday, Trump also renewed his call for a “merit-based” visa system which would mean the highly skilled would be favored and “chain migration”, which allows legal immigrants to apply for relatives abroad to enter the United States, would not be. This was because there is belief that Saipov came into the United States with 23 other people.

The first step to ending the diversity visa program, No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn stated, is that Congress must first pass legislation to protect illegal immigrants brought into the United States as children. He continued to mention that the next step would be to “turn our legal immigration system and see how we can change it.”

In the past, Trump has called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States, but courts have blocked his latest executive action barring entry into the country by people from several Muslim-majority countries. The White House has yet to rule out the idea of adding Uzbekistan to the list of countries named in the travel ban and countries that are no longer allowed to obtain a United States visa.

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