Since the 9/11 attack, New York and other cities in the country have taken the issue of security rather seriously. That does not mean that there have not been any security breaches. As a matter of fact, various attacks have been perpetrated in the United States. The most current one -- the New York City attack in which Sayfullo Saipov, 29, rammed into innocent citizens, killing 8 and hurting more -- has presented a basis for arguments among policymakers.

Diversity visa lottery program beneficiary

In 2010, Saipov, an Uzbekistan national, won the lottery, and later became an American citizen.

A variety of other immigrants have gained American citizenship in the same way. Under the current lottery program, merit is not given much consideration. The beneficiaries are basically applicants from countries that are considered to have sent fewer immigrants into the US. The policy was introduced by Congress in the 1990s. Prior to that; in the 1980s, the program was established to benefit Irish Immigrants. This is not an isolated case of a diversity visa holder being a suspect in a terrorist attack. In 2002, an Egyptian beneficiary of the Diversity Visa Lottery program caused terror at Los Angeles International airport.

Diversity versus merit-based program

The New York terror incident has sparked up debate regarding the possible dangers of the diversity program in the United States.

Some are for the program while some are in opposition. The supporters of the program consider it an opportunity for all humans to enhance their livelihoods while contributing immensely to the US. Individuals from diverse backgrounds bring into the country different perspectives and increased productivity. For those against the program, the security threat is usually the most common argument.

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Most of the policymakers, including president Donald Trump, often cite a merit-based program as the best alternative. Trump recently cited the need for extreme vetting of immigrants as part of the solution to terrorism.

The way forward

Evidently, the current visa lottery program bears both benefits and disadvantages. Effective screening of immigrants would be a good decision.

In the process, basic human rights should be upheld. The program should not deter those in genuine pursuit of greener pastures from realizing their dreams. It should also not raise discriminatory issues since such would cause harm to the country's productivity and image. Essentially, background checks and references should be undertaken on the immigrants before they are granted entry into America, to safeguard innocent citizens and make America great.