If you were hoping to be a recipient of the U.S. Green Card Lottery this year or next, pray hard Donald Trump does not go through with his plan to end it.
The United States President said on Wednesday that he would end the popular programme after a radicalized Uzbek man who entered the country through it, killed eight people in New York.
“I am starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery programme,” Trump told reporters.
“We have to do what’s right to protect our citizens. We will get rid of this lottery programme as soon as possible,” he added.
Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek attacker, intentionally drove a rented Home Depot truck down a bike lane into cyclists and pedestrians, killing eight and injuring twelve before crashing into a school bus.
He was immediately arrested after being shot by a police officer in the stomach.
Authorities said Saipov had planned to continue the attack for several more miles to the Brooklyn Bridge but was stopped because he crashed.
They also said he was inspired by ISIS videos he watched on his cellphone and began planning the attack almost a year ago.
The 29-year-old has been arraigned at a New York federal courthouse where he faces terrorism charges of providing material support to a terrorist group and violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
Green Card Lottery Programme
The Diversity Immigrant Visa program or Green Card Lottery was started in 1990. The programme awards U.S. permanent resident visas to around 50,000 applicants from around the world each year, opening the door as well for members of their broader families to follow them, so-called chain migration.
In 2015, Green Card Lottery applications were received from more than 14 million people. 49,377 were issued green cards including 2,524 Uzbeks.
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Trump now says he wants to change the policy to a “merit-based system” and not allow immigrants to bring their extended families.
If he goes through with ending the program, Trump would further close the doors to hopeful U.S. immigrants, after already slashing the country’s annual refugee intake by more than 50 percent.
He has also tightened visa issuance around the world as well as attempted to ban travelers from 11 countries, most of them with Muslim-majority populations.