Donald Trump calls for end of 'green card' immigration lottery

The green card lottery is meant to promote diversity in immigration to the US.
The green card lottery is meant to promote diversity in immigration to the US. Photo credit: Getty

US President Donald Trump has renewed his vow to dump America's green card lottery and introduce Australian style merit-based immigration after the terror attack in New York City where eight people were killed and 12 injured.

Mr Trump described the alleged terrorist Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as an "animal" and claimed US chain migration rules may have allowed him to bring 23 others to the US.

Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant inspired by the Islamic State terror group, hired a ute, mowed down cyclists and joggers before crashing into a school bus in lower Manhattan, authorities said.

"We want a merit-based system and we don't want chain migration where somebody like him will ultimately be allowed to bring in many, many members of his family," Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

The green card system was introduced in the early 1990s, its aim to promote diversity in the United States' immigration policy. Favour is given to people from countries which have supplied fewer immigrants to the US in recent years.

Applicants are required to have a clean criminal record, be in good health and have a means of support.

Around 15 million people apply every year for the 50,000 cards on offer.

Mr Trump and his administration have repeatedly praised Australia's immigration policies.

In August the President proposed the RAISE Act, a points-based system favouring green cards awarded to English speaking applicants who can financially support themselves.

When Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull explained to Mr Trump in their infamous January 28 phone call Australia's tough Manus Island and Nauru refugee policies the President replied: "That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am".

Mr Trump said on Wednesday he was "going to ask Congress to immediately initiate to get rid" of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the green card lottery.

"We want to get rid of chain migration," Mr Trump said.

"This man who came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people.

"He was the point of contact, the primary point of contact, for, and this is preliminary, for 23 people who came in or potentially came in with him, and that's not acceptable."

Saipov was shot in the stomach by a NYPD officer and is being held in a Manhattan hospital. Mr Trump said he was considering sending Saipov to America's military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Australia is shutting down its Manus Island centre.

Reuters / Newshub.