Donald Trump received his official Fox & Friends briefing the morning after eight people were killed in New York City, and came out the other side with a series of tweets blaming Sen. Chuck Schumer for the attack. Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, drove a truck down a bike path. Trump’s take, as directed by Fox & Friends:
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
That “Chuck Schumer beauty” was indeed backed by Schumer … and passed on a bipartisan vote and signed into law by a Republican president, back in 1990. The diversity in question involves country of origin—it’s a program for people from countries without many immigrants to the U.S. (Which means that people from favored Trump target Mexico don’t qualify.)
And as for merit-based immigration—are you a young person with an advanced STEM degree and a lot of money? If not, you probably lack merit according to such plans. Not a problem if you’re already in the U.S. and willing to close the door after your low-merit ancestors made their way in from whatever troubled country they were leaving at the time.
Schumer responded, releasing a statement saying that:
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 problem—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.
Of course neither Trump nor his anti-immigrant base is going to let any confusing facts get in their way. No matter how recently their own grandparents or great-grandparents may have immigrated and no matter how non-merit-based they were.