CHICAGO - President Donald Trump called Wednesday for merit-based immigration following the deadly truck attack in New York.
"I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program," Trump said.
Trump said he wants to immediately begin working with Congress to end the program that was designed to enhance this country as a melting pot, but somehow allowed the New York City attacker to legally get into this country in 2010.
The President of the Chicago Muslim Bar Association called it a knee-jerk reaction and said the problem may not be the legislation, but the vetting process.
"Even within this diversity lottery program there is a vetting process that takes place with all the agencies and I think the focus really should be the vetting on anyone who comes into this country," said Azam Nizamuddin, president, Chicago Muslim Bar Association.
Early Wednesday, the President took to Twitter to attack the program as "a Chuck Schumer beauty," referring to the Democratic senator from New York, leading critics to say the president was trying to politicize the tragedy.
The diversity lottery was actually passed in 1990, eight years before Schumer took office.
The White House denied it was politicizing the situation and said this has been on the president's agenda for some time. In August, he endorsed to a bill to make immigration more merit based. Trump renewed those calls today.
"We want a merit based program where people where people come into our country based on merit, and we want to get rid of chain migration," Trump said.
"This is in line with his sort of world view with selecting certain ethnicities and minorities for a certain set of legislation and then ignoring other people who commit horrendous acts and crimes when it comes to other areas of the law," Nizamuddin said.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez was among those critical of the president's efforts to end the diversity lottery program.
The head of the Chicago Muslim Bar Association said this appears to be an end run on the president's failed travel bans which targeted mostly Muslim countries.