Bill in US Senate proposes scrapping Diversity Visa lottery

Bill in US Senate proposes scrapping Diversity Visa lottery
Bill in US Senate proposes scrapping Diversity Visa lottery Desk, 10 Feb 2017,

The bill was placed before the US senate by Arkansas’s Tom Cotton and Georgia’s David Perdue.

If passed, the bill would cancel the program that allows 50,000 foreign nationals to immigrate to the US each year.

The bill also seeks to limit immigrants who have received green cards to only applying for citizenship for spouses, minor children and sick parents.

Currently green card holders can sponsor their siblings and other close relatives for US citizenship.

Media reports suggest between a half to one million persons receive permission to immigrate to the US in this way each year. The proposed bill would reduce that number significantly.

The bill would not, however, affect professional (H1B) visas.

Many see the bill as an extension of the Trump administration’s recent executive order on immigration.

Two weeks ago the executive order signed by Trump barred travel of all refugees to the US for four months and the travel of nationals from seven Muslim majority nations for three months. The order also barred the travel of Syrian nationals to the US indefinitely.

Amid heated criticism and protests of the order both inside and outside the country, a Seattle court issued a stay on a part of the order.

The White House spokesman said it would comment on the bill once it was reviewed.

However, Senator Cotton said he spoke to Trump over the phone prior to introducing the bill.

According to NDTV, the bill looks to flow from Trump’s hardline anti-immigration stance .

US media has also reported that Perdue and Cotton are close associates of Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

At a press conference after introducing the bill, Tom Cotton said the immigration limits would benefit US workers.

“Whenever anyone enters the US on an immigration visa they receive a green card,” he said. “The path is then cleared for them to bring their spouses, parents and close relatives to the US legally, which is not good for American workers.”

Cotton admitted other Republican Senators saw the immigration issue differently and that the bill would face opposition from the Democrats.

“But we are hopeful the bill will be put to vote at some time this year,” said Cotton.

Immigration Legal Resource Center Attorney Mark Silverman criticised the bill heavily, saying it would only complicate the fallout from the protests and legal actions currently underway against Trump’s executive order.

“If these un-American actions continue, they may one day order the demolition of the Statue of Liberty and seize the assets of immigrant families.”

US Supreme Court Attorney Moin Chowdhury, Immigration Attorney Ashok Karmakar, Bangladeshi-American Democratic League Chairman Khorshed Khandker and lawyer Mohammad M Mojumdar opposed the bill.

The US was built by the blood and sweat of immigrants, they said, and the rights of immigrants are protected under the constitution.

They also affirmed their commitment to ‘defanging’ the Republican majority during the 2018 mid-term elections and putting a stop to such ‘inhuman acts’.