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President Trump called for immigration reform on Twitter this morning by stating that Sayfullo Saipov, the alleged New York City attacker, entered the United States via the Diversity Visa Lottery program, calling the program a "Chuck Schumer beauty." Schumer hit back at POTUS, accusing him of continually "politicizing and dividing America" during times of national tragedy.

The problem: We don't know yet if Trump's tweet can be taken as confirmation of Saipov's immigration status. The Diversity Visa Lottery tidbit about Saipov first came up in an unconfirmed local ABC7 report, which was seized on by right-wing outlets like Breitbart and Blunt Force Truth as well as former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka — seemingly to connect Schumer's prior immigration work to yesterday's deadly attack.

The details about the Diversity Visa Program

How it works, per a Washington Post report on the program:

  • The program, which took effect in 1995, was designed to increase American immigration diversity by offering 50,000 visas to "low-admission" countries via a lottery.
  • Applicants to the program must have at least a high school education or two years of formal job training.
  • Most people who enter the United States under the program do so from African countries. Saipov reportedly hailed from Uzbekistan.

How it passed:

  • The measure that eventually became the Diversity Visa Program was indeed proposed by then-Rep. Chuck Schumer.
  • It was swept into a larger immigration reform package that passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan votes — including an 89-8 vote in the Senate — and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Worth noting: A 2007 study from the Government Accountability Office stated that there was "no documented evidence" that anyone admitted under the Diversity Visa Program posed a terrorist threat, though it did highlight that the program was susceptible to fraud, which might allow terrorists to enter.

And now, this: Sen. Jeff Flake, who was a member of the immigration Gang of 8 along with Schumer, reminded Trump that their 2013 attempt to reform the nation's immigration system would have done away with the Diversity Visa Program:

Schumer's full response
"I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America. President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — anti-terrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget.
I'm calling on the President to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital anti-terrorism funding."
More tweets from Trump

In response to a Fox & Friends segment on the topic, soon after his initial tweet:

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.