From Where I Sit!
Last week’s Tuesday, an incident which is being investigated as an act of terrorism struck New York City, killing 8 persons and wounding 11 people, including school children. In view of the New York City’s latest attack, President Donald Trump in a Twitter’s posting has announced that he has begun preliminary efforts aimed at ending the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
The US president criticized the green card lottery program as being responsible for allowing the alleged terrorist driver into the country.
Law enforcement officials have identified the driver as Sayfullo Saipov, 29. He is said to have entered the U.S. from Uzbekistan (the largely Muslim dominated part of the former Soviet Union) on “valid diversity immigrant visa” in 2010, according to sources.
On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the “individual identified in the New York City terror attack” was admitted to the U.S. “upon presentation of a passport with a valid diversity immigrant visa” in 2010, according to the Washington Post.
According to the New York Times, “The program had its origins in the Immigration Act of 1965, which eliminated country quotas that had favored Western Europeans and replaced them with an immigration system based mainly on family reunification. After the 1965 law went into effect, immigration from Asia and Latin America soared but arrivals from Ireland, Italy and other European countries dropped precipitously.
In the 1980s, Irish-American congressmen led by Brian Donnelly, a Democrat from Boston, drafted a temporary measure, which passed in 1986. It provided an alternative path to a green card for citizens of countries “adversely affected” by the 1965 reforms, including Ireland.
In 1990, Mr. Schumer was the lead sponsor of a bill that, among many immigration provisions, would transform the temporary program into a permanent one. The proposal was included in a bill that ultimately passed, and the lottery was born.
Information gathered confirmed that the bill was a bipartisan effort, passing the Senate in an 89-8 vote, with 38 Republicans voting for it, including current Senators Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnell. Former President George H.W. Bush commonly known as “Bush 41, a Republican, signed the bill into law.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the green card lottery, is the United States congressionally mandated lottery program for receiving the United States Permanent Resident Card. It is designed to allow immigrants from other regions to have a chance to immigrate to the US. Green cards offered through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program are awarded through a random computer draw. To qualify for the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, you must live in a qualifying country.
So far, while there is no actual factual evidence that the program has led to or facilitated terrorism in the United States, nevertheless many people believe that President Donald Trump is right to express such anger at immigrants, who instead of fulfilling their life’s purpose in the U.S. are bent on causing harm to innocent American citizens and residents.
Analysts and commentators with the knowledge to migration issues and policy some years, the program would attract as nearly 15 million applications, but no more than 50,000 visas may be awarded. Even with this number, Africans are usually in the minority of beneficiaries.
That said the key issues for Africans and people with Africa’s interest is that the continent is and will be disproportionately affected if the president’s action were to succeed. The number of people with African heritage immigrating to the U.S. is small and relatively insignificant as compared to people from other continents and countries. Hence, this place the African continent at a disproportionate disadvantage as a region of 54 independent sovereign nations and one of the largest regions.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, more than 40 percent of new all Lawful Permanent Residents in the first three quarters of FY 2017 were from the top six countries of nationality: Mexico, the People’s Republic of China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines (see Table 1A). These were also the top six countries for the first, second, and third quarters of FY 2016. These largely included people who came to the U.S. not as a refugee, or on humanitarian grounds.
Also, in the first three quarters of 2017, approximately two-thirds of refugees were from five leading countries of nationality: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Burma (see Table 2). These were also the five leading countries of nationality in the first three quarters of FY 2016. Refugees are people admitted in the U.S. purely on humanitarian grounds.
Moreover, the DHS record maintains that just over 40 percent of aliens naturalized in each of the first three quarters of FY 2017 were from Mexico, India, the Philippines, the People’s Republic of China, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba (see Table 3). These were also the six leading countries of nationality during the first three quarters of FY 2016.
With respect to I-94 Nonimmigrant Admissions, the leading countries of citizenship for the I-94 nonimmigrant admissions in the first two quarters of FY 2017 were Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China (59 percent of all I-94 admissions; (see Table 4A).
With respect to the Classes of Admission, DHS maintains that visitors entering for business or pleasure comprised ninety percent of all I-94 nonimmigrant admissions in the first two quarters of FY 2017, followed by temporary workers and families (5.6 percent) and students and dependents 2.5 percent; see Table 4B).
With these trends and intricacies, African immigrants and Africa as a continent will be at an enormous disadvantaged of President Trump’s upcoming immigration policy decision. An estimated 80 percent of countries in Africa have no terrorist activities neither do they condone any act of terrorism. Therefore, President Trump needs to reconsider his decision. Perhaps, one of best choices would be to intensified screening as well as specific target countries that do not want act decisively against acts and the culture of terrorism among their people.