Trump Says He Spoke With Grassley About Ending Visa Lottery Program

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting on tax policy with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump has asked Congress to get rid of the State Department’s Visa Lottery program, the program which the alleged attacker in the New York City attack reportedly used to come to the U.S. legally. 

Speaking to reporters about the House’s tax cut bill, Trump said he had met with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and other lawmakers to talk about immigration reform following Tuesday’s attack.

“I’m calling on Congress to immediately terminate the Visa Lottery program. It’s a disaster for our country. This program grants a visa not only on merit, but applicants are randomly selected in an annual lottery,” he said. “And the people put in that lottery are not that country’s finest. We know the program presents significant vulnerabilities to our national security. It’s a very unsafe program for our country. And we are not going to allow it to happen.”

He also said he wants Congress to end “chain migration” and that he “ultimately” wants a merit based immigration system.

“We can bring people that will help our country, grow our country and be safe for our country,” he said. “We want to select people based on their ability to contribute to our country, not choose people randomly. We have no idea who they are or based on extended family connections. You have people bringing in 24 or 25 people when they come in. We have to end chain migration.”

Trump’s comments on immigration reform come after he blamed Sen. Church Schumer (D-NY) following the terrorist attack in New York City. Schumer championed the legislation back in the 1990s, but the actual legislation passed Congress with bipartisan support and was signed into law by a Republican president.

The program is designed to grant visas to immigrants from countries that have low admission rates.

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