President Donald Trump called on Congress to put an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery on Nov. 1.
The program, in place since 1990, distributes 50,000 visas to people from countries with low levels of immigration to the U.S., according to CNN.
Trump made his comments at a cabinet meeting one day after a terror attack in New York City killed eight people and injured more than a dozen more. Sayfullo Saipov, the 29-year-old man who allegedly drove a truck onto a Manhattan bike path, reportedly came to the U.S. under the program.
"I am, today, starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program," Trump said, according to CNN. "I'm going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program, diversity lottery, diversity lottery. Sounds nice, it is not nice, it is not good. It hasn't been good and we have been against it."
Trump's remarks were in line with the coverage of the Oct. 31 terror attack from a number of right-wing news outlets. Breitbart News led with an article blaming New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer's immigration policies for the attack. Schumer was one of the original backers of the Diversity Visa Lottery.
Trump also pointed the finger at Schumer in a Nov. 1 tweet, writing: "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based."
"We're going to quickly as possible get rid of chain migration and move to a merit-based system," added Trump at the cabinet meeting.
He alleged that Saipov had served "as the point of contact, the primary point of contact for, and this is preliminarily, 23 people, that came in or potentially came in with him and that is not acceptable."
The president went on to describe the attacker as an "animal," and called for strong justice to be meted out.
"What we have right now is a joke and it is a laughing stock and no wonder so much of this stuff takes place," he added.
Trump suggested he would consider sending Saipov to the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The New York Times reports.
Schumer responded angrily to Trump's comments, pointing out that after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, then-President George W. Bush invited him and Hillary Clinton, the other New York senator at the time, to the White House in a show of national unity.
"President Trump, where is your leadership?" said Schumer from the Senate floor, according to the Times. "President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be bringing us together and focusing on the real solution -- antiterrorism funding -- which he proposed to cut in his most recent budget."