WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — “We need strength, we need resolve,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday in a call for eliminating the diversity visa program that allowed terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov to enter the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010.
The diversity visa lottery grants 50,000 annual visas to applicants from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. Passed in 1990, it was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
President Trump pointed the finger at Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) for the program.
“He came in through the diversity program, as you know, and we’re going to stop that,” Trump said Wednesday. “We’re going to, as quickly as possible, get rid of chain migration and set up a merit-based system.”
Schumer fired back, accusing the president of cutting anti-terrorism funding.
“If he really wanted to do something, the way we can stop terrorism is anti-terror funding for our police departments,” Schumer said. “He cut that in the budget he proposed!”
Schumer played a key role in creating the visa program when he served in the House, but it passed by both houses of Congress.
Sen. Jeff Flake came to Schumer’s defense and posed a correction.
“We shouldn’t look for blame, especially since the diversity visa program was a bipartisan effort. It passed 90 to 8 or something at that time,” said Sen. Flake.