According to a tweet by President Donald Trump Wednesday morning, the Uzbek attacker who killed at people Tuesday night in Manhattan came to the United States on a diversity immigrant visa.
For would-be Americans who don’t have family in the U.S., or an employer to sponsor them, or who aren’t refugees, the diversity visa, also known as the green card lottery, is the only option. It requires a high school degree or a few years of work experience just to qualify.
The State Department noted, however, that visa information is confidential under U.S. law, and that they could not comment on any specific visa application.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer played an important role in drawing up legislation for the program in the 1990s. In a statement released Tuesday, he said “I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America,” proposing that Trump focus on the “real solution” of anti-terrorism funding.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. State Department announced that all entries to the lottery this year had been lost and must be resubmitted.
Earlier this year, republican senators proposed scrapping the program altogether.
If the application to the Green Card lottery is valid, your number is chosen and you pass the other requirements for immigrants, you still need the money to get to the U.S. It’s a small portion of immigration to the U.S. every year, but larger than other cornerstones of the program, like employment-based immigrant visas.
In Fiscal Year 2015, the U.S. issued 48,097 diversity visas out of 531,463 total immigrant visas.
Natives of all countries qualify except Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. People born in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are eligible.