US President Donald Trump says he was taking steps to end the diversity lottery program – the immigration system.
The suspected radicalised Uzbek man is said to have entered that country under the program and killed eight people in New York.
Donald Trump also attacked the US justice system, and said he would consider sending the suspect to the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“I am starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program,” Mr. Trump told reporters.
He said: “We have to do what’s right to protect our citizens. We will get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible.”
The 1990 program awards US permanent resident visas to around 50,000 applicants from around the world each year, opening the door as well for members of their broader families to follow them, so-called chain migration.
According to Mr. Trump, Sayfullo Saipov, who drove a rented truck into cyclists and pedestrians on a New York City bike path yesterday, came to the country via the program.
Saipov was arrested after being shot by police and officials said he planned to undertake his attack in the name of the so-called Islamic State group for weeks, following online instructions from the jihadist group.
Mr. Trump’s threat would further close the doors to hopeful US immigrants, after slashing the country’s annual refugee intake by more than 50%, tightening visa issuance around the world and attempting to ban travelers from 11 countries, most of them with Muslim-majority populations.
Uzbekistan is not among the 11.
The program Mr. Trump threatened aims to diversify the origins of people granted permanent residence – so-called green cards – in the United States.
In 2015 the green card lottery, applications were received for more than 14 million people, and 49,377 won green cards. That included 2,524 Uzbeks.
Mr. Trump said he wants to move US immigration to a “merit-based system” and not allow immigrants to bring their extended families.
“We want to get rid of chain migration,” he said.