Trump blames Schumer for visa program NYC terror suspect used
ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is pointing the finger at Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for immigration policies he claims are connected to the terrorist attack in New York City that left eight people dead and many more injured.
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty,” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday.
Trump also reiterated his support for a “merit-based” immigration system.
The president’s attack against Schumer follows a trend of directly blaming elected officials in cities and states hit by terrorist attacks. Trump made similar remarks about London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, following the attacks near London Bridge in June.
On Tuesday, a man drove a rental truck onto a bike and jogging path in lower Manhattan near One World Trade Center in what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called a “cowardly act of terror.”
The driver in the attack was identified yesterday as Sayfullo Saipov, who is from Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.
Saipov entered the United States in 2010 through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. According to the State Department, the program issues about 55,000 visas per year to applicants, most of them from countries that don’t send many émigrés to the United States. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program was included in the broader immigration reform package passed in 1990 and was signed by then-president George H.W. Bush. The first visa lottery took place in 1995.
Saipov has since become a legal permanent resident and has lived in Cincinnati, Tampa, and, most recently, Paterson, New Jersey, according to a law enforcement official.
Schumer, a member of the House of Representatives at the time, is known to have played a key role in pushing for the program to be included in the comprehensive immigration bill.
The New York senator tweeted Wednesday, “I guess it’s not too soon to politicize a tragedy.”
“I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America. President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — anti-terrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget,” Schumer said in a statement. “I’m calling on the President to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital anti-terrorism funding.”
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) also weighed in on Twitter, correcting Trump and pointing out that he and Schumer were both part of the group of lawmakers that “did away with the Diversity Visa Program as part of broader reforms.”
Overnight, conservative media outlet Breitbart News and former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka joined a vocal chorus of critics from the right wing in targeting Schumer. Many on the right said the New York senator’s role in passing the measure is a sign he’s directly responsible for the attack in New York City.
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