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COLUMN: End the diversity visa lottery



Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old native of Uzbekistan, rented a truck from Home Depot on Halloween and plowed into people on a lower Manhattan bike path in New York City, killing eight and injuring a dozen. 

Saipov was reported yelling “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” during the attack. 

Surprisingly, this act of terrorism still wasn’t enough to close divides between the left and the right, but rather it further separated them. 

Saipov immigrated to the United States in 2010 under a State Department program known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, commonly known as the Diversity Lottery. The program was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, in 1990 to diversify the flow of immigrants that come to the U.S. by making available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually. 

The program accepts applicants from countries with low rates of immigration in the five years prior.

Admittedly, an overwhelming majority of these immigrants are law-abiding, productive residents of the U.S. 

But ultimately this is not a system of immigration the country can sustain.

President Trump tweeted he wants a merit-based system instead, which is exactly what this country needs. It assigns points to various attributes, mostly financial, and subjects possible immigrants to heavier vetting before being allowed in the country than a Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. 

In short, the U.S. government has more control over who gets in.

It is irresponsible to allow a person to enter into this country just because he or she is from a certain country. 

If there is not a strict, extreme vetting process to enter this country as Trump has suggested and begun implementing, then there is no way to prevent non-domestic terrorist attacks like this one from happening again in the future. 

Any sovereign nation has the right to protect its borders and its people.

When we are faced with the Islamic State, one of history’s deadliest terrorist groups, we cannot take our chances. We cannot just turn a blind eye to terrorists that actually do come from other countries. 

People have criticized Trump’s travel bans as well, which target countries that are uncooperative with the U.S. and are politically unstable. 

Those who favor increased low-skill immigration have taken this and politicized yet another issue of pure safety by accusing Trump of being prejudiced against Muslims. However, these critics have failed to notice that nine of the 10 countries with the largest Muslim populations are not on his list.

If Trump really was targeting Muslims, it doesn't make sense to ban people from only one of the 10 most Muslim-populated countries. 

Even after devastating terrorist attacks people on the left yell for diversity but will never be the answer. Diversity is highly beneficial, but forced diversity will never have a positive outcome. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and all other Democrats need to work with President Trump and his administration to end this series of attacks on innocent people by getting rid of the Diversity Visa Lottery, implementing a stricter vetting system and making our country safe once more. 

smitheta@indiana.edu

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