In the aftermath of a terrorist attack in New York on Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump this morning blamed the terror suspect’s presence in the United States on the existence of the “Diversity Visa” lottery program, pointing the finger directly at Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer – but in 2013, Schumer joined fellow Senators in voting to do away with that immigration option, as part of the ill-fated “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill.
Federal officials have not publicly confirmed whether the New York attacker – an immigrant from Uzbekistan – came to the United States in 2010 through the diversity lottery program, which covers countries with low rates of immigration into the U.S.
“We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems,” the President said in a series of tweets this morning.
But if you go back to 2013, and examine the details of the Gang of Eight immigration bill – which drew sharp opposition from conservative Republicans and talk radio – that measure clearly would have eliminated the Diversity Visa program after 2014.
A news release at the time from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) made that clear, and echoed part of Mr. Trump’s own tweet today.
“To accomplish the move to a more merit-based immigration system, we eliminate certain categories of family preferences that have allowed for chain migration and completely eliminate the diversity visa lottery, among other reforms,” the 2013 Rubio release stated.
Headlines at the time also made that same point: “New Immigration Bill to Eliminate Diversity Visa Lottery Program.”
The “Gang of Eight” immigration bill was approved by the Senate on June 27, 2013 by a vote of 68-32. The House did not act on the plan, mainly due to opposition among Republican groups.