Fly in from any of 13 nations that Uncle Sam watches for possible terrorist arrivals, and TSA agents will subject you to extra scrutiny. Apply for a visa from any of these countries, and you could win the lottery, waltz into America, and wave your new green card at your new neighbors.
This folly is known as the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. It became notorious last week as the route by which alleged bike-path terrorist Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov entered the U.S. in 2010. Saipov, 29, is just the point of this potential dagger.
The State Department officially designates only Iran, Sudan, and Syria as “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” Regardless, under this diversity scheme, 2,788 Iranians, 1,833 Sudanese, and 164 Syrians won the lottery, scored green cards, and came to America in FY 2016. From FY 2007 to FY 2016, this program brought into our borders 20,739 Iranians, 7,232 Sudanese, and 812 Syrians.
TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world who holds a passport issued by or is traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening.
Here are the green-card winners in FY 2016 and the FY 2007–16 total for each of these terrorist-infiltrated nations whose citizens TSA agents eye closely for signs of Islamic extremism.
These statistics appear in the U.S. State Department’s Report of the Visa Office 2016. See Table VII: “Immigrant Number Use for Visa Issuances and Adjustments of Status in the Diversity Immigrant Category – Fiscal Years 2007-2016.” For my analysis of these figures, please click here.
This program’s advocates note that only two passport-Powerball winners have been arrested for terrorism: the aforementioned Saipov as well as another Uzbek. Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 27, was arrested in February 2015 for threatening to kill Obama.
“I am in USA now but we don’t have any arms,” Juraboev wrote on a pro-ISIS Uzbek-language website, according to CNN. “But is it possible to commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here? What I’m saying is, to shoot Obama and then get shot ourselves, will it do? That will strike fear in the hearts of infidels.”
“The defendant in this case lived in Brooklyn while making plans to travel to Syria to support a designed [sic] terrorist organization,” NYPD commissioner James O’Neill said in a Justice Department news release. “If that was not successful, the defendant schemed of bombing Coney Island or killing the President of the United States.”
“Over the next few months, Juraboev and his co-conspirators continued to ramp up their allegiance to the terrorist group by discussing travel to Syria and proposals to wage violent jihad here in the United States,” said FBI assistant director William F. Sweeney, Jr., who heads its New York field office. “Juraboev ultimately purchased a plane ticket to travel to Syria, an act in furtherance of his terrorist plans and intentions. Those plans were thwarted and ended with today’s sentence, resulting in serious prison time.”
U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz II sentenced Juraboev to 15 years in prison for providing material support to ISIS. Interestingly enough, Juraboev was sentenced on October 27, just four days before Saipov sped 20 blocks down a lower Manhattan bicycle trail, killing eight innocents and wounding twelve others.
Last fiscal year, 2,524 Uzbeks won green cards in America’s visa sweepstakes. From FY 2007 to FY 2016, 27,212 Uzbeks were equally lucky.
Few argue that America should halt all immigration from these tempestuous nations. There surely are peace-loving people from Libya and charming men and women from Somalia. I have known several delightful Afghans. And, among others, many Yemenis know better than most Americans just how hideous militant Islam is. Such people can become marvelous U.S. citizens.
But letting people into America from these terror-rocked nations through a veritable game of chance is bizarre and potentially suicidal. This travel-document roulette is also a massive slap across the faces of those who wait years, leap through bureaucratic hoops, and pay thousands of dollars to immigration attorneys to secure their green cards — if they ever get them.
What would diligent college students, who toil nightly at the library, think if their university awarded diplomas to others — via lottery, even if these folks never cracked their books?
Put another way, what would diligent college students, who toil nightly at the library, think if their university awarded diplomas to others — via lottery, even if these folks never cracked their books?
The number of Muslim-extremist terrorists who received diversity visas seems astronomically low. Of course, some of them may plot America’s doom but remain undetected. Perhaps other visa-lottery winners from these nations personally eschew violence but, instead, raise money for jihad, preach radical sermons, or quietly build bombs to be deployed by those with evil courage — one of terrorism’s key ingredients, for which English has no word. Pity that, as cowards cower in fear. Hackneyed rhetoric notwithstanding, cowards do not drive over tourists in trucks or shower people with bullets. Engineering and executing such mayhem requires evil courage.
As Saipov proved, and eight people learned to death, it takes just one militant-Islamic “lone rat” to ruin your day. It took only two such rodents to perpetrate the San Bernardino attacks, which killed 14 and injured 22. And if 19 of these scum are in cahoots, say hello to September 11. Death toll: 2,977. Wounded: some 6,000-plus.
The time is now to cash in the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. Shielding Americans from radical Islamic terrorism is tough enough without Washington rolling the dice on public safety.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.