2002 LA Airport Terrorist Also a “Diversity Visa” Winner

The Muslim terrorist Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet—who in 2002 killed two people and injured four others in an attack at Los Angeles International Airport—was, just like the more recent New York terrorist Sayfullo Saipov—also a beneficiary of the “Diversity Visa” lottery run by the US State Department, it has emerged.

Saipov killed eight people in New York earlier this week by running them down with a vehicle, while Hedayet opened fire with two Glock pistols at the airline ticket counter of El Al, Israel’s national airline.

A new article from the Center for Immigration Studies reveals Hedayet’s background: he was an Egyptian, and as explained by Bill Yates, then-deputy executive associate commissioner for the Immigration Services Division at the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Hedayet was admitted to the United States on a visitor’s visa on July 31, 1992 (with permission to remain in the United States until January 25, 1993).

He subsequently applied for asylum on December 29, 1992. In that application, Hedayet claimed “discrimination and police harassment due to his religious beliefs.” He “was interviewed regarding his asylum claim on March 30, 1993,” at which time:

He testified that he had been arrested and tortured multiple times, and was also made to sign documents admitting his membership in Gama’a al-Islamiyaa. He state[d] that he [was] not a member of Gama’a al-Islamiyaa but of Assad Eben Furat Mosque Association, an organization that advocates the application of Islamic laws in Egypt.

That application was denied, and Hedayet was issued an Order to Show Cause for a deportation hearing, in which he was charged as a non-immigrant overstay.





As Yates explained: “Later, after his wife won a visa through the annual diversity visa lottery, Mr. Hedayet filed an adjustment of status application with INS. The INS interviewed him on this application and approved it in August 1997.”

CIS chief Steven Camarota also testified at that same hearing, the article continued, saying that he had “prophetically” told the subcommittee:

One of the problems with the lottery is that it gives green cards to people who have no strong ties to the United States, unlike family-based immigration. Certainly individuals with few ties to the United States are more willing and more likely to engage in attacks on our country. The attractiveness of the lottery to terrorists is shown by the fact that two terrorists arrested in August of this year in Michigan also used the lottery. … Clearly, strictly enforcing our immigration laws and permanently eliminating policies like the lottery and 245(i) could significantly reduce the terrorist threat.

The article goes on to reveal that at least a third of all “Diversity Visa” winners come from “countries are of special concern in the war against Islamic extremism,” and that “several lottery winners have already been involved in terrorism in the United States.

“Michigan sleeper cell member Karim Koubriti, convicted this summer on terrorism-related charges, was a lottery winner from Morocco, as was Ahmed Hannan, who was acquitted of terrorism charges in the same trial but convicted of document fraud.”

In addition to these terrorists, then-subcommittee Chairman John Hostettler noted that: “a Pakistani national who pleaded guilty in August 2002 to a single count of conspiracy to use arson or explosives to destroy electrical power stations in Florida … also entered the United States under the DV Program.”


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