The Diversity Visa Program, often referred to as the “Visa Lottery” was established in 1990. Under this program, 55,000 visas are allocated annually via a random process to natives of countries that have relatively low rates of immigration to the United States. In 1997, 5,000 of these visas were reserved for individuals who qualified for legal permanent resident status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act. Those 5,000 visas are not granted under a lottery process.
Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr. released a report last month showing that the Visa lottery recipients are prone to Social Security fraud. The report showed that many of the lottery recipients were either carless with the numbers or intentionally gave them away to others, because hundreds of them had been repeatedly used with different employers.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) has introduced H.R. 2278, the SAFE for America Act, that would eliminate the annual Visa Lottery. The Visa Lottery issues 55,000 greencards per year to foreign citizens of countries that have lower rates of immigration to the United States. The greencards are awarded, however, through a random lottery drawing and without consideration of the recipients educational attainment or work skills.
The visa lottery program presents a national security threat.
Under the program, each successful applicant is chosen at random and given the status of permanent resident based on pure luck. A perfect example of the system gone awry is the case of Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet, the Egyptian national who killed two and wounded three during a shooting spree at Los Angeles International Airport in July of 2002. He was allowed to apply for lawful permanent resident status in 1997 because of his wife’s status as a visa lottery winner.
Publicists working for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have carefully hidden the central role of the Diversity Visa program (the visa lottery) in an extensive and brutal forced labor case involving young women from Africa.
The Diversity Visa program brings 50,000 people to the U.S. every year; people with no connections to the U.S., people without either needed skills, or refugee status, or money to invest; people who have simply won a free government lottery. For more on this program see this blog.
In June 2005, NumbersUSA's Director of Government Relations Rosemary Jenks testified before the House Immigration, Border Security, and Claims Subcommittee. In her testimony, she discussed the origin of the Visa Lottery and the impact Special Interest groups had on its creation. She discussed the programs inability to add "diverstiy" to the immigrant flow to the United States, and she discussed why, regardless of the "diversity" aspect, the Visa Lottery is bad policy for the United States.
The visa lottery was established by the Immigration Act of 1990 in an attempt to bring individuals to the U.S. from countries that had been sending few immigrants to the United States in the past. Currently, approximately 50,000 foreign nationals per year are awarded visas based on pure luck to come and live permanently in the United States under the visa lottery program.
Problems with the Visa Lottery Program