The diversity visa lottery system, which allowed a Uzbek immigrant accused with this week's deadly terror attack to enter the United States, is one of the "dumber ways" to bring people in, Sen. Tom Cotton, who proposed legislation before Tuesday's attack in New York City brought the matter to the nation's attention, said Thursday.
"There are not much many dumber ways to give out citizenship in this country [than] to do it at a mere lottery on the basis of some kind of diversity," the Arkansas Republican told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program.
"My legislation would eliminate the diversity lottery, and it would focus on bringing in high skilled immigrants that can contribute to our economy and stand on their own two feet and pay taxes and not get welfare."
Lawmakers should move promptly on the legislation, he added, "especially given the fact that so many of the countries that benefit most from the diversity lottery" have caused the United States trouble through terrorism.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he'd start the process to end the program, and several members of the Senate have said they're open to ending it. However, the program can only be terminated by an act of Congress since it was created by Congress as part of a 1990 immigration law.
However, Cotton said rather than making the matter part of comprehensive immigration reform, Congress should focus on the problems at hand.
"Comprehensive immigration reform is often the Washington code for amnesty now and enforcement later, which means enforcement never," Cotton said. "What we should try to work on is focus on the problems we have security, enforcement, and getting a legal immigration system that works for the American worker."
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