We’ve learned in the wake of a terrorists’ vicious attack on innocent, harmless bicyclists in Manhattan that the perpetrator came to America through a “diversity visa” program introduced by now-Sen. Chuck Schumer when he was in Congress. This is important to know, one would think, because the program is still in force, importing 50,000 immigrants a year from countries such as Uzbekistan by means of –- unbelievably –- a random lottery.
I’m betting the vast majority of Americans had never heard of this. Crazy idea, right? President Trump has called for its termination in the past, and he forcefully reiterates that call now.
But Sen. Schumer has responded to his remarks. The headline for the story might just be the Laugh Of The Day, if what makes you laugh is bitter irony.
A closer look at the legislative history of the Diversity Visa program --- its origin and its continued existence --- shows that the legislative process is so complicated that other, seemingly unrelated factors can contribute to the long life of a potentially disastrous provision. This always seems to happen when Congress tries to tackle “comprehensive” legislation.
Then-Rep. Schumer placed the provision within another bill back in 1990. The full bill was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. So the program sort of sneaked in under the wire with little attention; that would have been easy in those pre-9/11 days.
Signup to Receive Updates
Ironically, as a member of the “Gang Of 8,” Schumer agreed in 2013 to do away with the program as part of a larger package of reforms, but some Democratic groups, notably the Congressional Black Caucus, argued for keeping it, probably assuming that anything with “diversity” in the title had to be good. So it stayed.
We've got to start looking at this or any other program for what it is, not as part of a huge bill Congress is trying to get passed. The time for "passing bills so we can find out what's in them" is over, because the stakes are just too high. The existence of the "Diversity Visa" program tells us a lot about our legislative process and why some reform is desperately needed THERE.