WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the present migration system that allows naturalised citizens to bring their family members into the country was “not acceptable” after the latest terrorist attack in New York.

“CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!” he tweeted.

If implemented, the ban on family-based immigration will impact millions of immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of South Asians.

Mr Trump announced he was also ending a visa lottery programme, which seeks to diversify the US immigrant population by selecting applicants from countries with low rates of immigration in the five years prior. The programme was established under the 1990 Immigration Act.

“We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter),” he tweeted.

“The United States will be immediately implementing much tougher Extreme Vetting Procedures. The safety of our citizens comes first!” he said in another tweet, released on Thursday.

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” ... I want merit based,” said Mr Trump while justifying his decision to end the lottery.

During the 2016 election campaign, Mr Trump vowed to get tougher on immigration, which, he claimed, had allowed criminals and terrorists to enter the United States. And as president, he did issue a set of executive orders, aimed at tightening the existing immigration system in the United States. But his orders have been largely stalled in Congress and in the US federal courts, where judges have blocked a sweeping travel ban on immigrants from a handful of Muslim majority countries.

Mr Trump focused on the visa lottery system because the New York attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, came to the US under this programme and became a permanent legal resident.

The president also targeted US Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer for helping create the visa lottery programme and a tweeted a quote from Fox News commentator who said that the senator, a New York Democrat, had imported an “European problem,” driving vehicles on pedestrians, into the United States.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2017