The recent terror attack in Manhattan has sparked yet another conversation about limiting immigration. But was Donald Trump right to call for the elimination of the Diversity Visa Immigrant Program (he called it the Diversity Visa Lottery Program) following the New York terrorist attack, since the accused terrorist Sayfullo Saipov came to the US under that program? Should Congress kill the program? No, Congress should not scrap the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program as Trump wants in the wake of the Manhattan attack. Although it’s concerning that no one knows how broad the fraud is, the solution is to implement stronger fraud-detecting measures, not scapegoat a program that captures America’s ideals.
To be sure, events like the Manhattan attack puts the Diversity Visa Lottery Program in the spotlight regarding applicant vetting, but the lottery doesn’t allow just “anyone” to come into the US. There are stipulations involved. Applicants must pass a background check, and have completed at least a high school level of education or two years of work experience. Trump also claims that America’s immigration should be merit-based (i.e. people with skills the country needs, etc.), but this kind of immigrant selection already exists. The kind of skills and citizens the country needs today might not be the same 10 years from now. Therefore, having a diversity of skill sets is just as advantageous (if not more so) as having immigrants with specific skills. The lottery provides an opportunity for immigrants with differing skills and insights to have a similar chance at prosperity in America as merit-based immigrants and natural born citizens.
What would America be without immigrants? All Americans (aside from Native Americans who were here before colonization), were immigrants at some lineage-point. Diversity is what helps put America ahead of the societal curve. It aids in innovation and provides for a more well-rounded culture. Immigration is a mutually beneficial event for both America and those who are immigrating. These things should not be sacrificed because of the select few who have abused this opportunity. The desire for immigration diversity should trump the concern of possible harm as long as the overwhelming majority of recipients are good and peaceful immigrants (meaning they don’t commit acts of terrorism in America). Yes, there were three lottery immigrants who are known to have had ill intentions, but they shouldn’t ruin the entire program. It’s not legitimating legitimate to end the Diversity Visa Lottery Program based off the microscopic percentage of winners who have done harm on American soil. As it stands, the overwhelming majority of these program immigrants are in fact upstanding American citizens who might not have had the chance to be so if the program didn’t exist.
Those who do come to spread terror seek to incite a large, negative reaction like shutting down the lottery program, thereby ruining the hopes and dreams of the millions of program applicants as well as stifling America’s opportunities to advance. America should not let these individuals succeed in this effort. America should not let one man represent the hundreds of thousands who have been granted citizenship through this program. He is not an accurate representation, and should not be made as such.
This editorial was written by Teagan Harr based on the stance of a Media Milwaukee editorial board.