Sen. Orrin Hatch has introduced legislation to end the Diversity Visa Program, which each year brings 50,000 low-skilled individuals into the United States from countries around the world — including state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran.
The Diversity Visa Program (DV) is “an unfortunate blind spot in our immigration system that has outlived its purpose,” according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
“The applicants for these 50,000 ‘lottery’ immigration slots require few skills. The program does not know, really, who these applicants are nor their true purpose in coming to the United States. The program is a national security loophole, and has been used by terrorists and organized criminals to not only enter the U.S., but bring others to the U.S. as well.”
The DV program was created in 1990. In 2009, Iran was the third largest recipient of DVs among nations in Asia, and 12th largest overall, as 1,117 Iranians were allowed to enter the United States.
Three other nations designated as state sponsors of terror — Somalia, Syria, and Cuba — received a total of 313 DVs. The visas also went to residents of Sudan (592 visas) and Yemen (51), two nations with active terrorist populations, and 253 visas were issued to citizens of Venezuela.
Receiving at least 2,000 DVs were Kenya, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Albania, and Uzbekistan.
“There are no stop-gaps against fraud to determine qualifications nor properly vet identity or derogatory intelligence to assure that radicalized individuals do not enter the United States on a DV,” the Center points out.
At least one terrorist incident resulted from the DV program. On July 4, 2002, Egyptian gunman Hesham Hedayet killed two people at the Los Angeles ticket counter of Israeli airline El Al before being killed by a security guard. He had obtained permanent resident status because his wife got a DV in 1996.
The House voted to abolish the Diversity Visa Program in 2005, but the Senate never passed the bill.
Sen. Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced a bill containing a provision that would repeal the DV program unless Congress specifically reauthorized it.
In support of the bill, the Center praises Hatch for “not shying away” from the obvious: The DV program “has outlived its usefulness.” Instead, it “assertively creates national security vulnerabilities by admitting foreign nationals it cannot viably vet from state sponsors of terror, acts to support criminal human trafficking, and perpetuates low-skill economic migration during a time when Americans need jobs desperately.”
Yes, we need to scale back all immigration, in my opinion. This country is a lot more crowded that it used to be in the 1890s and we have a lot more complex security problems than we used to have. Besides that, other countries in the world (I'm looking at you, Canada) are harder to become citizens of nowadays, we should strengthen our security in that direction as well. At least make sure they have a skill, ability, business.. something that will make them productive and not just another welfare recipient.