US Diversity Visa Programme an '' open door'' for terrorists

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New York, Sep 25 (UNI) The US State Department's Diversity Visa Programme is an ''open door'' for the terrorists to enter the country legally, government investigations have indicated.

According to the findings, the programme is so prone to fraud that it was easy for the terrorists to enter the US.

Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson was cited as saying by the local website that the investigation demonstrated a need to clean up the programme.

The programme was examined by the government accountability office and a report was issued on September 21 titled ''Border Security: Fraud Risks Complicate State's Ability to Manage Diversity Visa Program.'' Among its findings, the GAO called on the State Department in monage the programme well to prevent people from using fraudulent identification papers to register for a Diversity Visa and suggested the State Department to keep more comprehensive data on proven or suspected fraud cases and use it to formulate a better strategy to combat fraud.

The report stated that 9,800 people from countries designated by the State Department as ''State sponsors of terrorism'' had used this programme to gain permanent legal status in the US. Of those, more than 3,000 have come from iran and Sudan respectively, while 160 have come from Syria, and 2,700 have come from Cuba.

The Diversity Visa programme differs from other other Visa programmes because it places no emphasis on employer or family sponsorship from within the US but uses a lottery system to allocate visas and more than half a million immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration have become legal permanent residents of the US through the programme.

The State Department must do more to prevent fraud among diversity visa applicants, and the Department of Homeland Security must follow up with individuals after thay are here in the US, '' Mr Thompson was quoted as saying by the local website.

''America can and should continue to welcome newcomers who follow our laws and contribute to our society, but we must always do it in a way that puts security first,'' he added.

The legislation creating the Diversity Visa programme was signed by then President George H W Bush in 1990. The programme is designed to increase immigration to the US from countries with low rates of immigration.

UNI

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