Thankfully last Monday's terror attack in New York City resulted in only a few minor injuries to unsuspecting commuters, but good fortune cannot be a substitute for good policy. And, as the very presence of Akayed Ullah and Sayfullo Saipov in our country demonstrates, the way we choose new legal immigrants to come to our country is not only senseless, but also dangerous.
Sayfullo was the product of the so-called visa lottery, which picks 50,000 new immigrants at random. Ullah was here as a result of family chain migration, which accounts for about two-thirds of all legal immigration to the U.S. In Ullah's case, his family chain got started when one of his relatives won the visa lottery.
Even if these two individuals had not been terrorists, bent on killing as many Americans as they possibly could, they had little to contribute to this country. Their marketable skill sets included the ability to operate a motor vehicle, and not much else.
Stupid and dangerous is a lethal combination for any public policy. These two recent terrorist attacks in New York should provide ample impetus to end family chain migration and the visa lottery and adopt a merit-based system that provides immigration opportunities to qualified applicants who have the most to contribute to our country, regardless of their national origin.
Dan Stein is the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.