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[Congressional Record: February 13, 2003 (House)]
[Page H680-H681]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce today the 
Security and Fairness Enhancement, or SAFE, for America Act of 2003. 
This much-needed bipartisan legislation eliminates the controversial 
immigration program, the visa lottery program, which threatens national 
security, resulting in the unfair administration of our Nation's 
immigration laws, and encouraging a cottage industry for fraudulent 
  Each year, approximately 50,000 aliens are chosen at random to come 
and live permanently in the United States via the visa lottery program. 
This program presents a serious national security threat. Under the 
program, each successful applicant is chosen at random and given the 
status of permanent resident based on pure luck. A perfect example of 
the system gone awry is the case of Hesham Mohammed Ali Hedayet, the 
Egyptian national who killed two and wounded three during a shooting 
spree at Los Angeles International Airport in July of last year. He was 
allowed to apply for lawful permanent resident status in 1997 because 
of his wife's status as a visa lottery winner.
  Usually, immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals that have 
existing connection with family members lawfully residing in the United 
States or with U.S. employers. These types of relationships help ensure 
that immigrants entering our country have a stake in continuing 
America's success and have needed skills to contribute to our Nation's 
economy. However, under the visa lottery program, visas are awarded to 
immigrants at random without meeting such criteria.
  In addition, the visa lottery program is unfair to immigrants who 
comply with the United States immigration laws. The visa lottery 
program does not prohibit illegal aliens from applying to receive visas 
through the program. Thus, the program treats foreign nationals that 
comply with our laws the same as those that blatantly violate our laws.
  In addition, most family- or employer-sponsored immigrants currently 
face a wait of years to obtain visas. Yet the lottery program pushes 
50,000 random immigrants with no particular family ties, job skills or 
education ahead of these family- and employer-sponsored immigrants each 
year with relatively no wait. This sends the wrong message to those who 
wish to enter our great country and to the international community as a 
  Furthermore, the visa lottery program is wrought with fraud. A recent 
report released by the Center for Immigration Studies states that it is 
commonplace for foreign nationals to apply for the visa lottery program 
multiple times using different aliases and other false personal 
information. In addition, the visa lottery program has spawned a 
cottage industry featuring sponsors in

[[Page H681]]

the U.S. who falsely promise success to applicants in exchange for 
large sums of money. Ill-informed foreign nationals are willing to pay 
top dollar for the ``guarantee'' of lawful permanent resident status in 
the United States.
  The visa lottery program represents what is wrong with our country's 
current immigration system. The SAFE for America Act eliminates the 
visa lottery program from the Immigration and Nationality Act. The 
removal of this controversial program will help ensure our Nation's 
security, make the administration of our immigration laws more 
consistent and fair, and help reduce immigration fraud.
  I urge each of my colleagues to support this important bipartisan