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Friday November 24th, 2017 3:35PM

The Latest: Trump slams visa lottery after NYC attack

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and immigration (all times local):

9:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is urging swift repeal of an immigration program that brought the New York truck attack suspect to America.

Trump insists Congress must end the visa lottery program under which Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov entered the country, and he has ordered still tighter scrutiny of immigrants already subject to what he calls "extreme vetting." But the White House is offering no indication of what new steps the president might be planning.

Trump says, "We have to get much tougher, much smarter, and less politically correct."

Trump says he is open to sending the suspect to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, instead of to trial in New York.

However, prosecutors in New York have filed charges in federal court against Saipov.

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3:35 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the Trump administration considers the New York truck attack suspect to be an "enemy combatant."

Sanders tells reporters President Donald Trump is open to sending the alleged attacker to the U.S. prison on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Sanders says the actions of the alleged attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, justify the enemy combatant label. She says Trump isn't calling on Saipov to be moved to Guantanamo Bay, but says Trump "certainly would support it if he felt like that was the best move."

Officials in New York say Saipov has yet to be formally charged in connection with the attack, which killed eight Tuesday. Sanders says the determination hasn't been made yet whether to move him out of the civilian justice system.

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3:25 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has spoken with the New York City mayor and the New York governor in the wake of a deadly truck attack near the World Trade Center.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders also says Trump's calls for increasing extreme vetting of immigrants are "something that frankly the president has been talking about for a long time."

Asked Wednesday about Trump's critical tweets about New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sanders says Trump "has not blamed Sen. Schumer and doesn't feel that the senator is responsible for the attack."

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12:50 p.m.

The Department of Homeland Security says the suspect in the New York City truck attack entered the United States in 2010 under the diversity visa program.

Homeland Security officials are confirming that the immigrant from Uzbekistan arrived in the U.S. that way.

That's the immigration program that President Donald Trump is calling on Congress to eliminate "as soon as possible." The president says the program is "not good," and says the U.S. needs to "get much tougher."

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program covers immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

____

12:49 p.m.

Senate Republicans are coming to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer's defense after President Donald Trump blamed him for the deadly New York attack.

Trump tweeted that Democrats and Schumer were responsible for a diversity immigrant visa program he says was used by the alleged attacker to enter the United States. He arrived legally in 2010.

Schumer was part of a group of Republicans and Democrats who backed a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013 to end the program as part of a broader bipartisan bill to overhaul U.S. immigration laws.

GOP Sen. John McCain was part of that group. He said the bill would have eliminated the program and replaced it with a merit-based system.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said of Trump criticism: "Probably not the best way to bring out the best in our country."

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said of Trump's hit on Schumer: "It's not something I would do. We've all got different styles. It's not the way I would handle it."

____

12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he will consider sending the suspected New York City truck attacker to the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Responding to a shouted question from a reporter at a Cabinet meeting, Trump says, "I would certainly consider that. Send him to Gitmo."

Trump's comments come after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called on the president to treat the alleged attacker as an enemy combatant. The suspect is currently in custody in New York City, but according to officials has not yet been formally charged.

Eight people died and at least 11 were seriously injured in the Tuesday attack.

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12:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling the suspect in the New York City truck attack an "animal."

Trump says he will ask Congress to "immediately" begin work to terminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which he says was used by the alleged attacker to enter the United States. Officials have not yet said that was the case.

Trump says "we will take all necessary steps to protect our people."

Speaking before a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said "all of America is praying and grieving" with the victims. He says: "Our hearts break for them."

__

12 p.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that President Donald Trump's attack against Sen. Chuck Schumer "plays right into the hands of the terrorists."

The Democratic governor pointedly condemned Trump's Wednesday tweets, which criticized Schumer's immigration policy less than 24 hours after the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.

Cuomo said the president's tweets "were not helpful."

He added, "You play into the hands of the terrorists to the extent you disrupt and divide... The tone now should be the exact opposite."

Both Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Trump had yet to reach out personally.

Trump tweeted that Schumer is "helping to import Europe's problems." He called the visa lottery program that allowed the suspect to enter the country "a Chuck Schumer beauty."

The program was signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush.

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11:55 a.m.

The Senate's top Democrat says President Donald Trump's response to the deadly attack in New York City "doesn't work with New Yorkers" or other Americans.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that after Sept. 11, 2001, Republican President George W. Bush united the nation, inviting lawmakers to the White House and promising to work together.

Schumer said Trump is taking "horrible advantage, of a tragedy" and trying "to politicize and divide. It doesn't work with New Yorkers and it doesn't work with Americans."

In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump blamed Schumer, saying the attacker came to the United States through a diversity visa program — "a Chuck Schumer beauty."

Officials said the attacker is an immigrant from Uzbekistan who came to the United States legally in 2010. They haven't said whether he was admitted through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which covers immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

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11:15 a.m.

An AP Fact Check finds that President Donald Trump omitted key facts in blaming Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer for an immigration program Trump said allowed the driver in the New York truck attack to come to the U.S.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that the attacker came into the U.S. through "the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty."

Officials said the attacker is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. legally in 2010. They haven't said whether he was admitted through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program for those from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

The program was created as part of a bipartisan immigration bill introduced by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Schumer, D-N.Y., a House member then, proposed a program for "diversity immigrants" in a bill earlier that year.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., says Schumer was among a group of eight Republican and Democratic senators who proposed eliminating the program three years ago.

__

10:25 a.m.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer says President Donald Trump is "politicizing and dividing America" in the aftermath of Tuesday's attacks in Manhattan that killed eight people and wounded 11.

The Senate's top Democrat said Trump — who attacked Schumer on Twitter Wednesday morning — "should be bringing us together."

Trump tweeted that the accused attacker had entered the U.S. through a special diversity visa program that the president called "a Chuck Schumer beauty."

Schumer said former President George W. Bush sought to unite the country after the Sept. 11 attacks. He said, "the contrast between President George Bush's actions after 9/11 and President Trump's actions this morning could not be starker."

Schumer called upon Trump to rescind proposed cuts to anti-terrorism funding.

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9:35 a.m.

A Republican senator says President Donald Trump is unfairly blaming a Democrat for an immigration initiative that Trump says let the man who carried out the deadly New York City attack enter the United States.

GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona says New York Democrat Chuck Schumer was among a group of eight Republican and Democratic senators who proposed eliminating the diversity visa program three years ago as part of a broader bipartisan bill to overhaul U.S. immigration laws.

Flake, who served on the "Gang of Eight" with Schumer, says: "I know. I was there."

The immigration bill ultimately failed in the GOP-led House after passing the Senate in June 2013.

Flake recently announced he's not running for re-election but says he won't be silent about Trump's politics and behavior.

___

8:25 a.m.

The Senate's top Democrat is hitting back after President Donald Trump faulted him for an immigration program that Trump says allowed the man in the deadly New York City bike path attack to enter the United States.

Chuck Schumer says in a statement that "I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America."

The New York lawmaker says Trump is "politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy." Schumer says the president should focus "on the real solution — anti-terrorism funding" — an area that Schumer says Trump has proposed cutting in his most recent budget.

Tuesday's attack killed eight people and injured at least 11.

Trump says on Twitter that the driver "came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty."

Officials have said the driver — a native of Uzbekistan — came into the country legally in 2010.

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8:06 a.m.

President Donald Trump is calling for "Merit Based immigration" following the deadly truck attack in New York City that killed eight people and injured 11.

Trump says on Twitter Wednesday that the driver in Tuesday's attack "came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty."

Officials said the attacker is an immigrant from Uzbekistan who came to the U.S. legally in 2010. They haven't said whether he came in through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which covers immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

Trump tweeted, "We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter)."

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