In the drawer of dumb, post-Sept. 11 immigration ideas, the
State Department's Diversity Visa Lottery program sits near the top of the
heap. What could be more out of touch with the national security goals of
the War on Terror than giving away visas randomly to thousands of people
from the Middle East to fulfill a politically correct social agenda?
Nearly 55,000 lucky lottery applicants and their family members
qualify for permanent residency visas (green cards) every year, which put
them on the path to American citizenship ahead of millions of other
foreigners patiently waiting to come to this country. The visa lottery was
championed by Sen. Ted Kennedy and signed into law by President George H. W.
Bush in 1990 to admit more "underrepresented" immigrant minorities into the
United States. Although originally intended to give a leg up to Irish
immigrants, most of the winners are now from non-Western countries --
including several terrorist-sponsoring and terrorist-friendly nations.
How many lives have been sacrificed at the altar of diversity
through this immigration set-aside program? We now know of at least two
One of those who hit the visa lottery jackpot was Hala Hadayet,
wife of Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet -- the gunman who killed
two people at Los Angeles International Airport on July 4th. Hadayet should
have been deported from this country six years ago. After entering the
country legally in 1992 on a six-month visa, he overstayed illegally and
then filed a petition for permanent residency.
An Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman told the
Orange County Register over the weekend that the reasons for Hadayet's
rejection were "unclear." The agency initiated deportation proceedings, but,
as in hundreds of thousands of cases, nothing every came of it. In the
meantime, Hadayet's wife put in an application for the visa lottery. She
won, and so did her family. Both legal immigrants from abroad and illegal
aliens currently evading the law inside our country are allowed to apply;
winners can bring their spouses and children under 21.
There is no fee to enter the visa lottery. There isn't even a
government form. Applicants simply mail a photo, biographical information
and a signature on a plain sheet of paper and wait for the
computer-generated drawing results. Losers can keep applying every year. The
only eligibility rules are a clean criminal record (other than violating our
borders and overstaying visas, which don't count as crimes to our
cotton-headed immigration authorities), a clean bill of health (easily
faked), and a high school diploma/equivalent or two years of work experience
The diversity visa lottery program was a bad idea before Sept.
11 and July 4. At a time when people from around the world continue to seek
asylum, claim refugee status and immigrate to America legally, it is absurd
that our government still feels compelled to run a lottery to "ensure
diversity" of the immigrant population. It is even more outrageous that the
program is open to illegal aliens who continue to flout our laws. The visa
lottery is an immigration entitlement program based on the luck of the draw
and political whims -- rather than on our national interest.
How many more Hesham Hayadets are lurking among us? Among those
who drew winning numbers in the most recent visa lottery, whose results were
announced by the State Department last month, were 1,551 individuals from
Hadayet's native Egypt; 38 from terrorist hijacker-spawning Saudi Arabia;
and 2,259 from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Syria -- all official state
sponsors of terrorism. The next lottery drawing is planned for next fall.
Blinded by deadly diversity worship, our government has no plans to bar al
Qaeda strongholds from the lottery.
We continue to leave homeland defense to random chance.