Way back in June 2015, before we all got used to Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rants, he shocked the conscience of America and the world, by launching a hate-filled attack against Mexican immigrants as "criminals", "rapists" and drug dealers, beginning with the charge that Mexico is "not sending their best" people to the United States.

At that time, at least Trump had the excuse that millions of the Mexican immigrant targets of this racist attack were in the United States without authorization, so he could claim with justification that they had broken the law. Moreover, even though calling them all "criminals", "rapists" and drug dealers was nothing more than a vicious lie, Trump could point to the fact that at least a small percentage of Mexican immigrants do in fact fall into the above categories (even though studies seem to agree that the crime rate among unauthorized immigrants is actually lower than it is among native born American citizens).

Now, Trump has gone even beyond his reprehensible 2015 attack on Mexican immigrants.

Using very similar language, Trump is now demonizing over a million people from all over the world who have immigrated to the US legally in the past 2 decades under the diversity green card visa lottery program and, so far as available reports indicate, have caused few if any problems in America. (The only reported exception, so far as anyone is aware, is the one single radicalized lone wolf immigrant who carried out his own personal terror attack in New York on October 31. See also the politifact.com report cited below.)

Huffington Post reports that in his latest exercise in demagoguery, Trump gave a speech in Quantico, Virginia on December 15 making the following accusations, according to its article:

"President Donald Trump on Friday accused foreign nations of manipulating a visa lottery program to send the United States their 'worst of the worst' - a complete misrepresentation of how the State Department's program actually works."


The Huffpost's report continues

"In fact, foreign leaders have zero control over the entrants or the winners of the diversity lottery. Nor do they control the vetting process, which requires the same security checks as many other immigration paths to the US."

The article then goes on to quote Trump's exact words, as follows:

"You think the country is giving us their best people? No...What kind of a system is that? They come in by a lottery. They give us their worst people, they put them in a bin. But in his hand when he's picking them is really the worst of the worst. 'Congratulations, you're going to the United States.'"

The appalling falsity of calling these immigrants, many of whom are now US citizens and are therefore just as much Americans as Trump himself, drew the following comment from David Bier of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute (which cannot be called a left, liberal or immigrant advocacy organization by any stretch of the imagination), according to the same Huffpost article:

"'t's beyond insulting - it's totally malevolent...I can't wrap my mind around the fact that the fact that the president just told the entire world that these million people are the worst of the worst, to use his expression. It's not true."

There is simply no rational basis for claiming that the visa lottery program can be manipulated or used by terrorists to come into the United States; and of the million or more people who have immigrated to the US legally under this program, only one other person besides the October 31 attacker has ever been suspected of having terrorist sympathies or intent, according to available information.


What then, is the real reason for Trump's malicious and delusional attack on the DV visa lottery program? The answer is simple: Before 1994, when the predecessor to this program, known as the AA-1 visa lottery, was in effect, there were no attacks on the program from immigration opponents (much less from Donald Trump himself).

At least I do not recall hearing any objections to the AA-1 lottery from anyone in Congress or the media, even though I was personally familiar with the program and represented clients seeking to immigrate under that program myself.

Why were there no objections to that program - no claims that the countries involved were sending their "worst" people to the United States under that program and no calls (that I can remember at least) to abolish that lottery as being harmful to the United States?

The reason is clear. The AA-1 visa lottery, unlike its successor, the current DV program, was almost entirely limited to European and other predominantly white countries. The only countries on the list that were not predominantly white were Japan and Indonesia.

It was only when the green card lottery became open to people from countries in every part of the world and the great majority of immigrants under the program came from outside Europe, as is the case now under the DV-program, that it started coming under attack. According to the latest statistics, if I am not mistaken, some 40 percent of the successful lottery immigrants each year come from Sub-Saharan Africa, and most of the rest come from Asian and Latin America.

Therefore, the evidence is simply inescapable that the attempt to eliminate the DV lottery is part of a larger agenda to reduce or eliminate many, if not all, visa programs which have enabled millions of non-white immigrants to come to the US legally over the last few decades. This agenda includes ending what Trump and his supporters derogatorily call "chain migration" (as in the above Huffpost article also), and which everyone else calls reuniting families; ending or reducing less skilled immigration (except for H-2B cooks and gardeners working at Trump's own resorts, of whom he sponsored around 70 this year alone); and attacking skilled immigrant visas popular with well-educated Asian immigrants especially, such as H-1B, under the president's so-called "Buy American, Hire American" executive order and by other means.

This is not to mention Trump's various versions of the Muslim Ban orders; his cancellation of DACA; and his support for the RAISE Act, which would once again make Europe the center and focus of all US immigration categories, in a throwback to the openly racist "national origins" immigration act of 1924 which excluded immigrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East entirely and also barred most of the world's Jews - thereby eventually adding to the death toll in the Holocaust.

What is particularly disturbing about Trump's immigration policies, of which the proposal to abolish the Diversity Visa is only one small part, is not merely the white supremacist ideology that underlies his policies. Trump is certainly not the first Republican politician in the past 20 or more year to pursue this type of agenda.

But few of these other immigration opponents, even those who have been the strongest advocates of reducing immigration, have pursued this agenda with the openly expressed venom, falsehoods and hatred toward minority immigrants which Trump has in effect made his trademark, and for which his presidency may be remembered more by future historians than any other single feature.

The above is not to say that a lottery is necessarily the best way to select permanent resident immigrants, any more than it makes any sense to use a lottery as a standard for selecting H-1B skilled workers, as is currently the case due to the long standing refusal by Congress to consider any attempt to make enough visas available under this program to meet the demand for skilled foreign workers by US employers

But the question is not what is the best way to select immigrants. It is whether considerations of how best to pick immigrants should be distorted by the kind of openly racial antagonism, vilification and, yes, cruelty that Trump has exhibited toward immigrants from Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and other non-white parts of the world without let-up from the time he announced his candidacy for president up until the present time.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law