U.S. President Trump pledged to end the U.S. Visa Lottery and what he coined "chain migration" on November 12 in response to the terrorist bombing investigation of 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant to the U.S. Ayaked Ullah. Ullah, who holds a U.S. Green Card, set off a pipe bomb in New York’s Times Square subway station on Monday. According to statements from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Ullah legally entered the United States in 2011 on an immigrant visa that he obtained through a relative who is a naturalized U.S. citizen who won a visa through the lottery program. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that Ullah would not have been allowed to enter the U.S. and the bombing would not have occurred if Trump's immigration policy was in place.
Current U.S. immigration policy requires that all visa applicants to the U.S. are screened before receiving their visas. Ullah is a lawful permanent resident - a green card holder - who came to the U.S. on a visa for children of siblings of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens over age 21 are able to sponsor siblings for visas to the U.S., and Ullah's type of visa is given to the children under 21 years of age of those siblings. Those applicants and families still must meet eligibility requirements to enter the U.S. and are screened and interviewed.
Trump has repeatedly called the U.S. immigration system’s preference for family reunification “chain migration” and campaigned on legislation to would end the lottery policy and reduce overall legal immigration to the U.S. Trump proposes the U.S. adopt a visa system based on merit, which he says would be similar to Canada's merit-based immigration system. There is no new immigration policy currently before the U.S. Congress.
A draft immigration bill that is being circulated would cut the number of green cards given out per year by 50%, significantly reducing the number of family-based categories for visas and transforming the employment-based green card system from one based on employers' needs to one that heavily favors highly skilled, highly educated, English-speaking immigrants. Proponents say the proposed bill would be similar to Canada's merit-based immigration system.
The NYC terrorist attacker posted on Facebook immediately prior to his bomb attack, "Trump you failed to protect your nation" and that he was working on behalf of ISIS. Immigration reform was a major platform of candidate Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Since coming into office Trump has proposed a series of changes to U.S. immigration laws and travel bans.