The Visa Lottery Program is managed by the Department of State which awards up to 55,000 permanent resident visas a year to applicants from countries with relatively low rates of immigration to the United States compared to other countries, based on data from the previous five years. The visa lottery grants visas based on pure luck to people regardless of family ties, skills, education or to the United States, exposing this country to national security threats such as espionage, terrorism, and criminal refuge. The bipartisan Barbara Jordan Commission in 1995 recommended the elimination of the lottery, since it serves no national interest. This section charts House and Senate bills and joint resolutions on whether or not they increase or decrease the number of lottery visas.
Provide Amnesty for Illegal Aliens Weakens Border Controls
Weakens Interior Enforcement
Increases Chain Migration
Increases Foreign Worker Visas
Increases Rewards for Illegal Aliens
Increase Lottery Visas
Use “environmental protection” as an excuse to prevent federal and state agencies from patrolling large areas of the border
Suspend Operation Streamline, which was a zero tolerance program along the southern border, where violators were detained and prosecuted for federal immigration offenses, rather than immediately released back to their home country to try again.
Provide expedited healthcare for illegal alien detainees with new minimum treatment requirements including such as preexisting conditions and full health screenings.
Provide unlimited telephone access, social services, translators, and legal services to illegal alien detainees.
Limit detainee transfers, which could increase releases at congested detention facilities.
Release any alien deemed “vulnerable” without further supervision
Provide sanctuary for illegal aliens by prohibiting apprehensions near schools, community centers, churches, courthouses, hospitals, etc.
Provide U visas to certain illegal workers who accuse their employers of exploiting them, violating their civil rights, or preventing them from joining a union.
Repeal 287(g) and prevent states from enforcing immigration laws
Establish a PUM visa to provide 100,000 visas annually for three years to countries with large numbers of unauthorized (illegal) immigrants. These visas would be distributed by lottery, similar to the current visa lottery system.
Exempt aliens who earn a master’s degree in math, science, technology, or engineering at a United States institution from the numerical limitations on H-1B nonimmigrants. Specifically, this legislation would offer permanent residence status to doctors, teachers, and engineers, driving down wages and creating undue competition for high-skilled American workers.
“Recapture unused employment-based visas” and “unused family -sponsored immigrant visas” between fiscal years 1992 and 2009 and establish a formula for calculating the number of “unused visas” (even though visas not allocated in a certain category in any given year are made available for other categories, so there really is no such thing as an "unused" visa). The result of this “recapture” is a backdoor immigration increase amounting to thousands of visas a year.
Expand chain migration by redefining "immediate relatives" and allowing eligibility for citizens or lawful permanent residents. In addition, it would expand chain migration by increasing the number of adult married children, adult unmarried children, and brothers and sisters of naturalized citizens.
Exempt immediate relatives from the annual cap on the number of immigrant visas and increase the number of visas issued per country per year.
Permit qualified workers eligible for an employment based petition to receive work authorization until a visa becomes available.
Exempt foreign nurses from current numerical limitations and provide new programs to fund and train domestic nursing other health care professionals.
Allow more discretionary authority to waive unlawful presence in order to reunite families.
Permit an immigration judge to decline to order the removal of the parent of a U.S. citizen child if the judge determines that removal would not be in the child's best interests.
Alter the eligibility requirements for immigrant sponsorship by reducing the level of support required from 125% of poverty level to 100% of poverty level.
Include the DREAM Act to offer benefits and amnesty certain illegal aliens under the pretense of providing educational opportunities for children brought to the United States before age 16.
Allow certain nonimmigrants, including their spouses and children, to apply for lawful permanent resident status (green card) and eventual citizenship. In addition, immigrants who adjust from a conditional nonimmigrant visa (including dependents) to lawful permanent resident status would not be counted against the worldwide numerical visa caps.
Permanently reauthorize the EB-5 visa program and expand it to 10,000 total visas.
H.R.3687 - would replace the current visa lottery system (55,000 visas currently focused on nationality and minimum work/educational degree requirements) with a system targeted at applicants with advanced degrees. Specifically, the program would include "qualified immigrants who hold a masters or doctorate degree in the life sciences, the physical sciences, mathematics, technology, or engineering. The end result would be more high-tech and other highly educated workers, possibly in job areas not traditionally affected by H-1B visas. This bill does not affect overall immigration numbers. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is the bill’s main sponsor.
Decrease Visa Lottery Reduces Rewards for Illegal Aliens
Strengthens Border Security Strengthens Strengthens Interior Enforcement
S.3901 (Strengthening Our Commitment to Legal Immigration and America’s Security Act) - would among numerous provisions: eliminate the Visa Lottery Program; prevent the reimbursement of incarceration expenses to local and state authorities that do not participate in the 287(g) program; limit alien parole to only urgent humanitarian cases; commission a report about the amount of federal welfare benefits provided to illegal aliens; limit the amount of medical funding to noncitizen children; fight identity fraud and unauthorized employment by sending notices to employers and owners about stolen Social Security numbers; and would increase penalties to counter drug violence on federal border lands. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is the bill’s main sponsor. No Cosponsors
There are four forms legislation take:
S. 123 (or H.R. 123) - Bills that must pass both chambers (i.e., House and Senate) and be signed by President to have force of law.
S. Res. 123 (or H.Res. 123) - Measures concerning operation of single chamber; not presented to President for action.
S.J. Res. 123 (or H.J.Res. 123) - Resolutions requiring both chambers’ approval and presentation to President for approval (as with bills [laws enacted by virtue of joint resolutions are not distinguished from laws enacted by bills]); generally used to authorize small appropriations, enact continuing resolutions that provide for government expenditures (absent overarching appropriations law), create commissions or other bodies, or extend legislation already drafted; also used to propose amendments to U.S. Constitution, in which case must be sent to states directly – bypassing Presidential action – for three-fourths’ approval.
S.Con.Res. 123 (or H.Con.Res. 123) - Resolutions requiring both chambers’ approval, but not Presidential action; generally used to address both chambers’ sentiments or deal with issues affecting both chambers.