At least five individuals granted residence in the U.S. through the State Department's Diversity Visa Program have been tied to terrorism, the White House revealed Tuesday, noting that "hundreds of other foreign nationals" who have entered through the program are currently being investigated for potential links to terrorism.
The decades-old program, which awards green cards to 50,000 prospective immigrants each year, fell under intense scrutiny earlier this month when law enforcement officials confirmed that Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek national who is suspected of killing eight individuals during a Nov. 1 terror attack in New York City, entered the country on a permanent residence visa he won through the lottery.
"Just a few days prior to Saipov's attack in New York City, another Uzbek national and Visa Lottery winner, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State terrorists," White House officials said Tuesday.
According to the White House, at least four other lottery winners have been convicted or suspected of engaging in terrorist activities since 1997.
The White House identified two other beneficiaries of the lottery program, one of whom was convicted of terrorism related activities and another who was deported after being identified as a leader in the Hamas terror group.