Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

U.S. Rep. McSally Moves to Eliminate Diversity Visa Lottery Program

November 20, 2017
Press Release
Introduces Measure to End Program & Instead Create More Merit-Based Employee Visas

WASHINGTON, DC–U.S. Representative Martha McSally last week introduced legislation to eliminate the visa program that allowed Sayfullo Saipov of Uzbekistan, an ISIS sympathizer, to enter the United States and kill eight people in a New York City terrorist attack on October 31. Her bill does away with the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program entirely and instead creates 24,000 additional employment-based visas.

“In a world of advancing and intensifying globalized terror, it makes no sense that the United States forgoes our right to choose who we admit and instead blindly picks people randomly without regard to whether they have sponsors, skills, or a support system. Saipov proved again that it is dangerous to continue this flawed program,” said Congresswoman McSally. “America is a nation of immigrants, but we should welcome immigrants based on merit—not chance. By ending this program and instead creating more employment-based visas we can make our country safer while still opening our doors to people who will work hard towards a better future for their families and our country.”

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, created by the Immigration Act of 1990, makes 50,000 visas available annually using a lottery system intended to provide visas to natives of countries that are under-represented among immigrant admissions to the United States. However, now a large number of accepted entrants come from countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism and nations where ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations are operational. This program was used by Sayfullo Saipov of Uzbekistan, who is charged with plowing a truck into a crowd of pedestrians just a few blocks from the World Trade Center after being radicalized by ISIS.

The terrorist attack carried out by Saipov in New York is not the first time Americans have been killed at the hands of an individual who gained entry to the United States through the diversity visa lottery program. It isn’t even the first time a terrorist from Uzbekistan entered because of this program. Additionally, the diversity visa lottery program was in the news again 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.

Congresswoman McSally’s bill, The Protecting America and American Workers Act, will completely eliminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program by removing 26,000 visas altogether and converting the remaining 24,000 to merit-based employment visas—specifically EB1, EB2, and EB3 visas.

CLICK HERE to view the legislation.