Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that eliminating the Diversity Visa Lottery — the method the suspect in the New York terrorist attack used to gain a foothold in the U.S. — should be part of any bill to legalize illegal immigrant Dreamers.
Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, has been among the chief GOP supporters of granting Dreamers a pathway to citizenship, but said Wednesday any such move needs to be coupled with stepped-up enforcement, and he said cutting the lottery program is part of that.
“Count me in for wanting to eliminate the lottery system,” Mr. Graham said.
For years, he’s been working with Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, on legislation known as the Dream Act, which would grant illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a pathway to citizenship. Since 2012, many of those illegal immigrants have been under protection, thanks to the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty program.
After Mr. Trump announced a phaseout of the DACA program in September, Mr. Durbin and Mr. Graham stepped up their efforts to pass a permanent fix.
But they’ve disagreed over what other add-ons need to be part of it.
Security add-ons could get a boost in the wake of Tuesday’s attack in New York, where suspect Sayfullo Saipov came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan as part of the diversity lottery in 2010.
President Trump early Wednesday called for the program to be eliminated, and a number of high-ranking Republicans added their voices later in the day.
Mr. Durbin and Mr. Graham were part of the Gang of Eight senators who crafted a broad legalization bill in 2013. That bill would have eliminated the visa lottery — known in foreign countries as the “Green Card Lottery” — as part of a massive overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, and legalization for more than 8 million illegal immigrants.