Former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) said Wednesday on "Fox & Friends" that the State Department's Diversity Visa Lottery program "is the most ridiculous" way to decide which immigrants can enter the United States.
Chaffetz said that during his time in Congress, he knew many lawmakers who wanted to get rid of the program, which awards U.S. permanent residency to foreigners through a lottery. The former congressman also emphasized that it is a "privilege to be" in the U.S.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked Chaffetz how he felt about Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) starting a movement to get rid of the program, and whether he feels the effort will be bipartisan.
"I don't know that it will be bipartisan," said Chaffetz, now a Fox News contributor. "It is the most ridiculous way to pick the next United States citizen. Not on merit, not on family, just literally a lottery."
The lottery program "provides for a class of immigrants known as ‘diversity immigrants,' from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States," according to the State Department.
Chaffetz recalled that one country—he said it was Bangladesh but was not sure—took every name from its phone book and entered them into the lottery.
"Coming to the United States is a privilege," Chaffetz said, adding that immigrants should not be permitted to enter the U.S. if they have a known arrest record and should be deported if if they get arrested while in the U.S.
"We don't need people like that here," Chaffetz said. "And you should get rid of the families."
"We're so nice, and so politically correct, 'oh we'll just keep them here,'" he added.
Chaffetz said the family of the terrorist who committed the truck attack in New York City on Tuesday should be deported.
Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan who was inspired by the Islamic State, killed eight people and injured 11 others by driving a truck down the wrong way of the West Side Highway bike path in Manhattan for almost a mile, according to authorities. The suspect entered the U.S. through the lottery program, according to reports, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump and others who want a tighter immigration policy.