At a Cabinet meeting Wednesday afternoon at the White House, President Donald Trump revealed that NYC terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov may have been able to help as many as 23 other individuals migrate to the United States, as part of a “chain migration” that began when Saipov was awarded a green card.
“This man that came in — or whatever you want to call him — brought in, with him, other people,” the President said amidst a discussion of proposed changes to immigration policy. “And he was a point, he was the point of contact — the primary point of contact for, and this is preliminarily — 23 people that came in, or potentially came in with him.”
“And that’s not acceptable,” Trump continued.
According to the White House, the President is considering a major immigration overhaul in light of Wednesday’s terror attack which left eight people dead and at least a dozen injured. Trump wants to move to a “merit-based” system where immigrants are judged on their potential to contribute to American society, and awarded “points” based on things like age, level of education, and choice of career.
Trump also says he wants to end the “diversity-based lottery” system that awarded Saipov his green card. After emigrating to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in around 2010, Saipov apparently petitioned to enter the lottery, which awards approximately 125,000 immigrant visas annually.
Odds of winning are low — the State Department says it can receive up to 10 million applications in a single calendar year, but Uzbeks, who represent only a small fraction of the global population, are disporportionately awarded diversity visas. Of the 125,000 visas awarded last year, Uzbeks received around 4,900 — more than were awarded to Russians.
“We want a merit-based program where people come into our country based on merit. And we want to get rid of chain migration,'” Trump told Cabinet members. “So we want to get rid of chain migration, and we’ve wanted to do that for a long time. And I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. And we’ll be asking Congress to start working on it immediately,”
Trump also Tweeted about chain migration Wednesday night.
CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE! pic.twitter.com/PQGeTTdRtX
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017