Clarke, Meng, Torres, Issue Joint Statement On Court Ruling Striking Down Trump Era Diversity Visa Passport Rule

Feb 10, 2022

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2022

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06) and Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15) praised the recent court ruling striking down a restrictive mandate requiring diversity visa applicants to obtain passports before they could enter a lottery to apply for the Diversity Visa Program.

“The February 4 ruling that struck down a restrictive Trump era regulation is welcome news, especially for those seeking fair passage to America. When we, along with 46 of our colleagues, wrote to Secretary Anthony Blinken in November urging him to either rescind or amend the Diversity Visa Program and remove the unnecessary restrictions of the Passport Rule, this was the outcome we were seeking,” said Clarke, Meng and Torres. “The ruling handed down by Washington U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly is the right one that will make it less burdensome to participate in the Diversity Visa Program, as well as restore the symbolism and spirit in which the program was enacted; to encourage immigration. We are a nation of immigrants and diversity is not just our strength, it is our superpower. It is a fundamental understanding of our commitment to human rights. And so, we are grateful for this ruling that will undoubtedly make it easier to accept newcomers, not harder.”

The Diversity Visa Program was originally created, within the State Department, to grant visas to countries with low immigration rates to the United States. The Trump Administration made many unsuccessful attempts to end the program all together, however, they were successful in including more restrictions and hurdles for applicants. By way of the unnecessary requirements of the Passport Rule, applicants from developing countries have been too restricted and overburdened to participate in the Diversity Visa Program. This has significantly undermined access to the Diversity Visa Program.

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