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GOP Rep: End The ‘Diversity’ Visa Lottery, Get Rich Immigrants To Pay For Wall

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A GOP congressman wants to kill one visa program and use another as a funding stream for tougher border security, including the construction of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

California Republican Dana Rohrabacher says its time to get rid of the so-called diversity visa lottery, a federal program that awards legal permanent residence status to immigrants from countries with “historically low rates of immigration” to the U.S. Rich newcomers would replace those immigrants under the EB-5, or “investor visa,” program, whose $1 million dollar investments in the U.S. could go toward border security, Rohrabacher told the Washington Examiner.

“We want to make sure that Donald Trump, as president of the United States, has the resources to fulfill his pledge about building a wall,” he said.

The proposal is one of several unconventional methods Republicans have proposed to fund the administration’s goal of building a wall across the entire 2,000-mile southern border. Republican Alabama Rep. Mike Rodgers introduced legislation in March that would charge a 2 percent fee on all wire transfers to the home country of illegal immigrants, and GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz proposed a bill in April that would use the seized assets of Mexican drug kingpins to create a pool of funds for wall construction.

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Rohrabacher’s plan grants legal status to anyone of “good character” who pays the fee and grants citizenship within two years to those who meet the requirements for naturalization, reports the Examiner.

The investor visa program currently fast-tracks foreign investors for permanent resident status if they invest at least $1 million — or $500,000 for “targeted employment zones”— into job-creating businesses in the U.S. Critics of the fraud-ridden program say it has become a way for wealthy foreigners to buy American citizenship while investing in projects that create few jobs or are located in already thriving areas.

Rohrabacher says his proposal negates those concerns by providing more funding for tighter border security.

“There’s nothing wrong with selling any product as long as it’s a good product,” he told the Examiner. “Is it bad to sell citizenship rather than give it away? No, not if that money should be used for border security, which includes making our immigration system work more efficiently.”

As for the diversity visa program, Rohrabacher thinks it’s a “stupid” way to admit immigrants into the country. He says Republicans shouldn’t be afraid to question the benefits of the program, long a favorite of Democratic lawmakers including powerful leadership figures such as New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

“The criteria for coming to our country should be what you can do for the United States of America to make it better for people who live here who are Americans,” Rohrabacher said. “If you are detracting rather than adding to the value of the country, then you should not be here.”

The Department of State makes up to 50,000 diversity visas available annually, with the winners drawn randomly from the entire applicant pool. More than 9 million people applied for an immigrant visa under the diversity program in Fiscal Year 2015, according to the State Department.

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