Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

DHS Acting Secretary Duke Agrees with Rep. McSally: Diversity Visa Lottery Program is “Rife with Fraud” & Must End

November 30, 2017
Press Release
Expresses Support for McSally Bill to End Lottery Program to Create More Merit-Based Visas

WASHINGTON, DC—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Elaine Duke agreed today with U.S. Representative Martha McSally that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program poses significant security concerns and should be eliminated. During a Homeland Security Committee hearing, Rep. McSally questioned the Acting Secretary on what changes need to be made to the U.S. immigration system in light of Sayfullo Saipov’s terror attack in New York City on October 31.

During the hearing, Congresswoman McSally outlined her position on the problematic program. “Many vulnerabilities have been talked about today that radical Islamic terrorists can use and will use to hurt Americans and attack our way of life…one of those vulnerabilities was used just 30 days ago. We are an immigrant-friendly country—we admit one million immigrants each year. No other country that routinely admits immigrants hands out their visas based on chance and lottery,” said Congresswoman McSally.

“We also see that the Diversity Program is rife with fraud,” responded Secretary Duke. “Today it would be better, but I agree with your sentiments on it that this is not the best use of our immigration system. Now we have biographics and the ability to search social media, but it is still one that would introduce risk.”

“I recently introduced legislation to eliminate the lottery program and convert a portion of them to merit-based visas, which I believe is the right thing to do. President Trump has called for the elimination of this program. Do you all agree that the program should be eliminated?” the Congresswoman asked.

“Yes, I support that,” Secretary Duke responded.

McSally pointed to newly released State Department data showing that since 2007 nearly 29,000 foreign nationals from Syria, Sudan, and Iran—three countries designated by the U.S. as state-sponsors of terrorism—have become legal immigrants through this lottery program. The program’s fraud was highlighted earlier this month when the Justice Department stripped four Somali immigrants of their citizenship because they defrauded the program and lied about being a family. The October 31st attack was also not the first time that Americans have been killed at the hands of an individual who gained entry to the United States through the diversity visa lottery program. Congresswoman McSally’s legislation, the Protecting America and American Workers Act, which she introduced earlier this month, will completely eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery Program by removing 26,000 visas altogether and converting the remaining 24,000 to merit-based employment visas—specifically EB1, EB2, and EB3 visas.

McSally also questioned the Secretary on the MILITARY ACCESSIONS VITAL TO NATIONAL INTEREST (MAVNI) program designed to allow aliens to serve in the military were being appropriately vetted to prevent espionage and other risks to our national security. To view the full interaction, click below.