Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Diversity (Green Card) Lottery

The Diversity Lottery Program aka The Green Card Lottery is a U.S. government sponsored program that issues permanent resident status to 50,000 people annually.

The basic purpose of the lottery is to promote migration into the United States by nationals that are considered to be under represented in this nation.  

This may sound like an open door opportunity to the people who would like to gain entrance into the U.S.  However, there are stipulations regarding who can enter the lottery.

Requirements for entering the lottery

If a nation has had 50,000 of its nationals enter into the United States within the past five years, people from those countries are excluded from entering the lottery.

Nationals who enter the lottery must also meet a basic set of requirements.  They must be high school graduates, or two years of work experience in an occupation that requires two years of training.

If a person who is currently living in the United States wins the lottery they cannot change their status if they are undocumented. There is an exception to this rule. An individual can apply if they have some other legal permanent visa petition filed before April 1, 2001.  

The application process is free and there must be a photograph submitted with the application. 

Applications for the DV Lottery were held in October and ended in November of 2012 for entrance in 2014.  

The lottery program began in 1990 to benefit the Irish by encouraging more of them to settle here.  Currently over half of the visa winners come from Africa.  

Under the Immigration Reform Bill that is currently making its way through Congress, that trend will be coming to an end.

The Political Ish in a Nutshell

The proposal to end the visa program based on national origin has sparked a fight between members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the GOP.  All of the sudden it seems to be incorrect to suggest that a person's nation of origin should be the criteria for entering the lottery.  It appears that there are Democratic members of Congress that are willing to let this program be excluded as a trade off for passage of the bill.  The members of the CBC have declared that they will not support the reform bill if the lottery is excluded.

According to Yvette Clarke (DNY), "Africans who currently enter the U.S. come in three ways, asylum seekers, family visas and the Diversity Lottery".    

Sylvie Bello, founder and CEO of the Cameroon American Council in Washington points out that the reform bill would benefit Asians, Latinos and Europeans.  Bello also raised the point that 10,500 visas are set aside for the Irish.

Collage Image from Black Immigrantion.net
You can learn more about the Diversity Lottery by visiting Immigration Equality.   The full article regarding Immigration Reform on PRI.

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