Trump wants tougher immigration law after attack by ‘animal’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calling the suspect an “animal,” President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged tougher immigration measures based on “merit” after the deadly truck attack in New York City.

Trump noted during a Cabinet meeting that the driver in Tuesday’s attack entered the country through the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” and called on Congress to “immediately” begin working to eliminate the program, which applies to countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. Trump added, “We have to get much tougher, much smarter, and less politically correct.”

Earlier Wednesday, Trump called the visa program “a Chuck Schumer beauty” — a reference to the Senate’s Democratic leader.

Schumer fired back from the Senate floor, accusing Trump of “politicizing” the tragedy.

Officials said the attacker is an immigrant from Uzbekistan who came to the United States legally in 2010.

Trump has backed legislation that would curb legal immigration and shift the nation toward a system that would place an emphasis on merit and skills over family ties.

The comments followed Trump’s Tuesday night statement that he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security “to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.” Trump’s policy entails more stringent investigative measures intended to identify would-be immigrants who may sympathize with extremists or pose a national security risk to the United States.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump proposed a total ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. before embracing “extreme vetting.” Trump’s efforts to block immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries have been tied up in federal courts.