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Trump Blames Obama’s Immigration Lottery for NYC Attack, Calls US Justice ‘A Joke’

Trump said he wants to immediately work with Congress to abolish the immigration lottery under which Saipov entered the United States.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (VOA)
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White House, November 2, 2017 : The terror attack in New York on Tuesday quickly became a political issue after President Donald Trump blamed a visa program that he said allowed the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, into the country and called the U.S. justice system “a joke” for moving too slowly.

Saipov, who told officers he chose Halloween for his attack because he thought more people would be on the streets, was charged Wednesday in a two-count criminal complaint.

Trump said he wants to immediately work with Congress to abolish the immigration lottery under which Saipov entered the United States.

Those remarks drew criticism from Democrats, who said the president was rushing to politicize a tragedy at a time when law enforcement is trying to determine the facts of what happened.

On Wednesday, Trump, in a Twitter remark, blamed Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York for allowing “the terrorist” into the U.S., as part of “what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.”

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., reacts to questions from reporters about President Donald Trump reportedly sharing classified information with two Russian diplomats during a meeting in the Oval Office, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) VOA

Schumer accused Trump of “politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy.” Schumer said he has “always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the president’s tweets “unhelpful.”

“I don’t think they were factual. I think they tended to point fingers and politicize the situation. He was referring back to an immigration policy that dealt with a lottery and blaming people who passed that immigration policy. His tweet wasn’t even accurate, as far as I’m concerned. That was a bipartisan law that was passed that had basically no relevance to the facts of this situation.”

Later, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was not blaming Schumer for the attack and that only Saipov was responsible. She said Trump considers Saipov an “enemy combatant.”

But she said the lottery immigration system under which Saipov came to the U.S. in 2010 should be revoked because it leaves to chance who gets to come to the U.S., with little vetting of their character and background.

The immigration lottery was part of 1990 U.S. legislation that Schumer, then a member of the House of Representatives, sponsored along with 25 other Democrats and six Republicans.

More ‘extreme vetting’

On Tuesday night, within hours of the attack, Trump ordered the country’s Homeland Security agency “to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program,” about immigration into the U.S. “Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

Uzbekistan is not one of the countries that the Trump administration has highlighted as security threats warranting a ban on travelers.

Sanders, responding to a reporter’s question during Tuesday’s daily press briefing, said no decision has been made on whether Uzbekistan should be added to the travel ban list.

Saipov, according to law enforcement officials, said he had carried out the attack after watching Islamic State videos on his cellphone.

Extremism analyst Bennett Clifford at George Washington University says many become radicalized after they are already in the United States.

“I think that’s important to take in mind as well that we’re not only facing an international terrorism problem in terms of people from overseas coming here,” Clifford said. “That’s less of an issue than I think than the problem of homegrown extreme — extremism where individuals born, raised in the United States are pushed down this same path to violent extremism.”

In remarks at the White House on Wednesday, the president also suggested more fundamental changes to the U.S. justice system to address the threat of terrorist attacks. He also seemed to blame the U.S. justice system for attacks like the one in New York Tuesday.

“We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.” (VOA)

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Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors, suggests arming teachers

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump met survivors and families of the victims that were killed in the Florida school shooting and suggested that teachers and staff members should be provided with arms to avert such massacres, the media reported.

Trump’s comment came during a White House “listening session” on Wednesday which was attended by families and students including six survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old man Nikolas Cruz armed with an assault rifle killed 17 people on February 14, reports CNN.

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.

“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” he said, stating that schools could arm up to 20 per cent of their teachers to stop “maniacs” who may try and attack them.

Also Read: Is Donald Trump’s presidency turning out to be a reward for Trump Jr.?

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.
The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence. Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledging that the idea was controversial, Trump said that his administration would give it serious study.

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.

Trump’s idea of arming teachers and school staff was met with support from many of the attendees, CNN reported.

Fred Abt, the father of Parkland shooting survivor Carson Abt, said he had discussed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, it would be more efficient to have firearms locked on school campuses.

Also Read: Daughter of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump to celebrate Diwali in a Hindu Temple in the US

“One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said.

“There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in the Florida shooting, said he was speaking because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children…

This shouldn’t happen.”

The President, flanked by the students, went around the room and shook hands before commencing the session.

Also Read: DACA is a Bold Welcome Step by President Trump

Trump also later tweeted he would “always remember” the event, adding “we must keep our children safe”.

“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he tweeted, along with a link to the full event.

“So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!” (IANS)