President Donald Trump said the suspect in the New York terror attack had been allowed to bring in 23 people as a ‘primary point of contact,’ as he called for changes in the U.S. immigration system just hours after the attack.

‘This man that came in—or whatever you want to call him—brought in, with him, other people,’ the president said at the White House today. ‘And he was a point, he was 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’s not acceptable,’ the president added.

Trump called for a ‘merit-based’ system, as he called for ending the diversity-based lottery program that allowed Uzbekistan-born Sayfullo Saipov to come to the country.

‘We want a merit-based program where people come into our country based on merit. And we want to get rid of chain migration,’ Trump said, referencing the phenomenon where immigrants who come to the U.S. then try to bring family members here.

‘So we want to get rid of chain migration, and we’ve wanted to do that for a long time. And I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. And we’ll be asking Congress to start working on it immediately,’ Trump said.

He blamed Democratic ‘obstructionists’ for stopping the legislation, although Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona noted on Twitter Wednesday that Democratic Senate leader Charles Schumer of New York proposed scrapping the diversity visa program as part of a broader immigration reform both Flake and Schumer were a part of.

Trump called Saipov ‘an animal’ during remarks before a cabinet meeting at the White House.

‘We need strength. We need resolve. We have to stop it. So we’re going to get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible. He came in through the Diversity Program, as you know, and we’re going to stop that,’ Trump vowed.

The president does not have the authority to unilaterally end the lottery program that was implemented by Congress in 1990.

He has endorsed Senate legislation that would replace it with a merit-based program, but it is not guaranteed to pass even if it comes to the floor for a vote.

The White House could order the State Department to reduce the maximum number of lottery visas awarded annually from 50,000 to as few as zero.

‘The ‘diversity lottery’—sounds nice. It’s not nice. It’s not good,’ Trump told reporters.

The president also called for ‘quick justice’ and treating the suspect as an enemy combatant.

‘We need quick justice and we need strong justice—much quicker and much stronger than we have right now,’ Trump said. ‘Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.’

Experts say the suspect would almost certainly be facing life in prison or confinement at a top-security prison for life under the current justice system after being tried and convicted.

Trump suggested that Americans were ‘suckers’ for supporting a system that allowed lax oversight of people allowed to fast-track their visa applications on the basis of a randomly drawn number.

‘We want people that are going to keep our country safe. We don’t want lotteries, where the wrong people are in the lotteries,’ he said.

‘And guess what? Who are the suckers that get those people,’ Trump said.

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