"Diversity Visa" and the legislative process

November 2, 2017 |

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.

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.

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Comments 1-4 of 4

  • Amelia Little

    11/04/2017 06:49 PM

    I have long said that each bill should be a separate bill. You want to pass something on military spending? Make a bill on that, alone. No pork, promising this senator that for his state just to get him to sign. No sneaking unpassable measures placed amongst a thousand or more pages which many who voted didn't even realize was there. Make the bills short, to the point, not thousands of pages. Publish them (short, concise) to the internet so constituents can read them, make their representatives aware of whether constituents approve of the measure or not. And, no laws passed by agencies. And, not all measures are relevant to every state across the board. Anyway, the diversity visa was a bad idea then, and an even worse idea now. There are people applying for authentic immigration, and they should not have to wait in line while someone who got the luck of the draw, so to speak, comes to the US without being vetted as closely as legal applicants.

  • George Taylor

    11/03/2017 12:49 PM

    These are dangerous times. The Diversity Program is too risky, as we now see. Radical Islamic Terrorism has spread to our domestic world. We have so many problems with immigration as it is, we can only allow in true refugee at this point. Trying to identify terrorists is hard work. ISIS has infiltrated the social media environment, not just Mosques. It's not just the loner bachelors, this latest case was a married man with 3 kids. His wife (apparently) had no idea what he was planning.

    It might be possible to ferret out what drove him to this act. Most terrorists end up dead after the event. Same with mass shooters. Sending him to Gitmo where he can be intensely interrogate as an enemy agent might be best in his case.

  • jodylong

    11/02/2017 09:04 PM

    I could view your diversity issue. Somebody else got to them first

  • Nancy Martin

    11/02/2017 11:02 AM

    The issue of diversity just drives me crazy. The liberals are always promoting diversity. WRONG. What we need is to find common ground. Sharing different cultural lifestyles, food, entertainment, etc. is fine. But it is absolutely imperative that we are on the same page regarding our number one value that makes us Americans, freedom-freedom to worship-freedom to pursue our goals-and freedom to say what's on our minds. Anyone who is not of the same mindset should not be allowed in this country.