The visa lottery program was established in 1990 and awards approximately 50,000 permanent resident visas to foreign nationals by conducting a random lottery. According to testimony of the State Department’s Inspector General during the 109th Congress, “the Diversity Visa program contains significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals, and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the United States as permanent residents.”

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.

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