By a vote of 19-11, the House Judiciary Committee today approved the Security and Fairness Enhancement (SAFE) for America Act (H.R. 704), a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chair.
Although the vote was condemned by California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson-Lee and others as a measure that would reduce diversity and had racial overtones, it passed without amendments. Ironically, open borders supporter Rep. Jackson-Lee represents the same district as the late Barbara Jordan, an immigration reform patriot.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said: "Basing our immigration system on the luck of the draw is not smart immigration policy. It’s an open invitation for fraud and a jackpot for terrorists." Each year, diversity visas have been issued to individuals from countries listed as State Sponsors of Terrorism. For the 2011 program, that included 1,842 Iranians, 553 Sudanese and 32 Syrians.
Rep. Goodlatte, the bill’s author, added: "Our immigration policy should be based primarily on our national needs, security and economics and not in part on an arbitrary system, lacking even minimal checks."
Created in 1990, the diversity visa program’s goal was to increase United States diversity within the immigrant community by issuing 55,000 green cards annually. Since its inception, more than 785,000 diversity visas have been issued. Each diversity visa recipient can petition his family members.
Since the outset, the diversity visa program has been flawed. State Department officials have found the program to be plagued by various types of abuse including but not limited to marriage fraud and document theft.
The next step is to bring H.R. 704 to the House floor for a full vote. If it passes, it will be the first immigration reduction legislation since the 1924 Johnson-Reed Act which limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2 percent of the number of people from that country who were already lived in the United States in 1890, down from the 3 percent cap set by the Immigration Restriction Act of 1921.