President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Congress to end the Diversity Visa Lottery amid reports that the man suspected of killing eight people in an attack in New York City Tuesday came to the U.S. through the program seven years ago.
“I am today starting the process of terminating the Diversity Lottery program,” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting. “I’m going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program.”
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also called the green card lottery, provides 55,000 immigrant visas to people from countries with historically low levels of immigration to the United States. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and are selected through a randomized computer drawing.
This is not the first time Trump has called for ending the program. The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, which Trump announced his support for in August, would do away with the program. The proposal would also drastically reduce legal immigration and introduce a points-based system for deciding applications for green cards.
While Trump said he wanted to eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery, whether Congress would vote to do so is another question. The program has survived a number of repeal attempts in the past. Any legislation to eliminate the program is unlikely to affect the 2019 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, the registration period for which currently remains open.