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Dying for Diversity: The State Department Visa Lottery

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Posted on January 15 2010 12:32 pm
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.

In the wake of the Ft. Hood shootings, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey took justified heat from commentators like David Horowitz and Ralph Peters (and yours truly) for his mind-boggling statement:

CASEY: As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

Now, as Special Report’s Bret Baier pointed out during The Grapevine segment on January 6, “The U.S. Government is Encouraging Immigration from Some Very Dangerous Places.”  The U.S. State Department holds a “lottery” in which people from countries which are “under represented” in U.S. immigration quotas, like Yemen, Nigeria and Iran, are given the chance to “become Americans.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might has well issue a statement saying,

As horrific a tragedy as the Christmas bomber might have caused, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

As Baier reported:

In the wake of the failed Christmas Day airline bombing, Yemen is quickly taking center stage as the next front in the War on Terror. But the State Department has awarded 72 diversity visas to Yemen, allowing Yemeni nationals to immigrate to the U.S. this year; a program that according to the State Department’s Web site is still active and has not been altered after the bombing attempt.

Cybercast News reports in the last 10 years, more than 1,000 permanent resident diversity visas have been awarded to Yemeni nationals. The State department’s Web site describes the diversity visas as a U.S. government effort to offer visas specifically to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

The four nations listed by the department as “state sponsors of terrorism,” are also part of the program: Syria has been allocated 98 diversity visas for 2010; Cuba: 298; Iran: 2,773; and Sudan: 1,084.

"If you live in an Anti-American hellhole and have no particular skills to benefit our country's economy, then Uncle Sam wants YOU!"

Here’s an expanded list of “winners.”  See any places terrorists are apt to come from?  Where the government might place its agents on the list?

Nigeria: 6,006
Iran: 2,773
Algeria: 1,957
Sudan: 1,084
Afghanistan: 345
Cuba: 298
Somalia: 229
Lebanon:
181
Libya: 152
Iraq: 142
Saudi Arabia:
104
Syria:
98
Yemen:
72

Note that Nigeria is also on the list of “under represented countries.”  Therefore, 6,006 Nigerians will enter the United States through this program alone.  The State Department proudly lists the winners for 2010 on it’s website.

Shouldn’t we be glad that we don’t have to deal with a lot of people coming here from some of these countries?  Talk about liberalism run amok, even without terrorism and security considerations.  This program is specifically designed to encourage immigration from countries where the people aren’t particularly interested in coming here– or have no skill set to offer the United States!

Worse, however is the unconscionable reality that this program not only survived after September 11, 2001, it is actively and proudly promoted abroad and advertised more than 8 years after 19 terrorists misused the visa process to kill over 3,000 Americans.

The Congress has taken votes to kill the program in the past, but the House and Senate could never reconcile their bills, and restricting immigration was never a big priority for the Bush 43 White House.  Now, in the wake of the Nigerian Underwear Bomber, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R, VA) is making it his cause to stop the insanity.  In an interview about his bill to kill the program, Goodlatte told Fox News:

CONGRESSMAN GOODLATTE:  …they can take young people right out of the madrassas who have no record, but terrorist activity, submit their names to this lottery program and have them drawn at random … As visitors like the 9/11 hijackers or the latest plane bomber but they’re giving green cards to live permanently in the United States. “

The current State Department’s response to a Fox inquiry was pretty lame:

FOX NEWS REPORT: The State Department’s Office of the Inspector General recommended in a 2003 report that terror-sponsoring nations be removed from the diversity visa program.

“OIG believes that this program contains significant vulnerabilities to national security as hostile intelligence officers, criminals and terrorists attempt to use it to enter the United States as permanent residents,” the office’s deputy inspector testified to Congress in 2004.

A separate report filed by the Government Accountability Office also faulted the program for being susceptible to widespread fraud. A cottage industry has emerged abroad to cater to the lottery, and it regularly bilks people out of massive amounts of money and even coerces some into marriage to keep their diversity visas.

But State Department officials told FoxNews.com that they have a powerful security protocol in place to protect the system — a point underscored in their rebuttal to the GAO report.

We do not see the DV (diversity visa) program as uniquely vulnerable,” when it comes to state sponsors of terrorism, they said, because of careful vetting that includes “two types of biometric checks and name checks.”

They acknowledged that fraud occurs in the lottery, with one official saying, “It is a sad reality that all visa categories encounter sham marriages, suspect identities, fraudulent documents, use of agents and unlikely stories” — but they cited an “impressive array” of strategies they use to tackle fraud.

The program hasn’t been without its cost: one beneficiary, whose wife received a diversity lottery visa, killed two people at Los Angeles International Airport in a 2002 shooting spree at the El Al ticket counter, an act the government labeled terrorism.

President Obama can talk about being at “war with al Qaeda” all he wants; but as long as his State Department is promoting programs like “Diversity Visa” lotteries, there is a fundamental lack of seriousness to his actions.

Apparently, “Diversity” is still more important to the Obama Administration and the Democrat Congress than American lives.

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