The U.S. government has issued visas to more than 30,000 people from countries labeled as sponsoring terrorism between 2007 and 2016, thanks to the much-maligned Visa Lottery Program that President Trump has recently criticized.
“In the last decade, the U.S. issued nearly 30,000 permanent residence visas through the Visa Lottery to randomly selected nationals from countries designated as ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism’ by the State Department,” said the White House in an email. “This does not include the additional tens of thousands of foreign nationals admitted from these countries through other immigration categories (such as family-based immigration, as well as asylee, refugee, and others).”
Countries of origin include Iran, Syria and Sudan.
Sayfullo Saipov, the terrorist who killed eight people in New York City on October 31, came to the United States under that very program.
“President Trump has called on Congress to eliminate the Visa Lottery and end Chain Migration,” the White House said. “These policies endanger national security, strain federal resources, and imperil the economic security of vulnerable American workers.
“We continue to face one of the most challenging threat environments since 9/11, as foreign terrorist organizations exploit the Internet to inspire, enable, or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts,” the Department of Homeland Security says in its latest National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin.
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