President Trump said Wednesday he will ask Congress to end an immigrant visa program that he said the New York City terror suspect used to enter the U.S.
“I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program,” the president said at the White House, calling on lawmakers to act “as soon as possible.”
Trump will need Congress to get rid of the program, which was enacted by law in 1990 with bipartisan support.
It’s possible Trump could get support for ending it now, however. A 2013 immigration overhaul drafted by Republicans and Democrats called for its elimination, but the bill was never passed into law.
Trump has thrown his support behind a Republican bill that would end the program as part of a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. visa system, but the proposal thus far has not gained traction in Congress.
The president’s initial response to the attacks could make it difficult for him to attract congressional support.
Democratic lawmakers slammed Trump calls for changes to the immigration system, accusing him of hypocrisy because he said the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting was too early to consider new gun laws.
The visa program allows the State Department to issue as many as 50,000 visas per year to people from countries that have low rates of immigration to the U.S.