Citing Single Citizen’s Case, Trump Again Calls To ‘End The Visa Lottery’

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump attends the National Prayer Breakfast at a hotel in Washington, DC on February 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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February 8, 2018 7:27 p.m.

The President on Thursday again called for an end of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, citing a years-old criminal case the Justice Department announced Wednesday it would use in an attempt to revoke one American’s citizenship.

The press release to which Trump linked concerns the case of Mubarak Ahmed Hamed. In 2010, according to the release, Hamed “pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally transfer more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of federal sanctions, and to obstructing administration of the laws governing tax-exempt charities” during his time as executive director of the Islamic American Relief Agency. 

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The Department of Justice is now seeking to revoke Hamed’s citizenship in federal court, a process called denaturalization. The process made headlines last year when the Supreme Court ruled that lying to citizenship officials could result in a loss of citizenship — as the DOJ claims Hamed did — but only if the government can prove that the lie affected its decision to grant citizenship in the first place.

The Daily Caller noted Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sought to bring attention to high-profile denaturalization cases, which have historically been fairly rare.

Trump has identified the elimination of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program — which offers visas at random to a pool of migrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States — as one of his priorities in immigration reform, along with resolving the status of DACA recipients, providing funds for border security including his promised wall, and ending family reunification — or “chain migration” as Republicans have begun calling it. 

The DOJ’s press release cites a recent report — widely panned as misleading — that it said found “that nearly three out of every four individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts between Sept. 11, 2001 and Dec. 31, 2016 were foreign-born.”

This muddies the waters: “international terrorism-related charges” can include crimes committed overseas by foreign nationals. And the “related” crimes include those far beyond terrorism itself. It also, obviously, does not count domestic terrorism: Doing so would significantly alter the balance of foreign- to domestic-born defendants.

One Justice Department official, during a presentation of the report to the White House briefing room last month, couldn’t say how many of the report’s 549 cases were immigrants — damaging the government’s argument that the data should affect the immigration debate.

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