The Visa Lottery Program is managed by the Department of State and 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, or education, exposing the 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.
There are bills offered in both the House and the Senate that would eliminate the Visa Lottery.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte(R-Va.) has introduced the SAFE for America Act (H.R.704) that would:
- Eliminate the Diversity Visa Class, a.k.a. Visa Lottery;
- Reduce overall legal immigration numbers by approximately 50,000 per year.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has introduced the Strengthening Our Commitment to Legal Immigration and America's Security Act (S.332) that would:
- Require the Department of State to submit recommendations to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees detailing changes to the Visa Lottery program that would reduce fraud and abuse;
- Eliminate the Visa Lottery unless the changes are made to the program per the recommendations of the State Department's report.
- Potentially reduce overall legal immigration levels by up to 50,000.