• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Immigration "Diversity Lottery" Is Long Overdue for Abolition

    The House passed a bill on Friday that would abolish the immigrant “diversity lottery” and replace it with a new program that would give green cards (permanent legal residency) to certain foreign-born science and technology graduates of U.S. schools.

    An unwise policy since its inception in 1986, the diversity lottery—the full name is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program—is perhaps the least rational component of the U.S. immigration system.

    The lottery randomly distributes green cards to up to 55,000 applicants worldwide each year.

    True to its name, the diversity lottery is not open to residents of countries that already send thousands of immigrants each year through other categories of admission. Countries not automatically excluded are given visas in proportion to their region’s immigration rarity—the fewer regular immigrants a region sends, the more diversity visas it receives. Aside from living in an eligible country, the only requirement for lottery applicants is a high school degree or two years working at a job that requires two years of training to hold.

    The lottery is not consistent with any broadly shared goal of immigration policy. The three main kinds of legal immigrants the U.S. currently accepts are people with family members already in the U.S. (66 percent of immigrants in 2010), workers with desirable skills (14 percent), and refugees (13 percent). A better mix of selection factors would give more emphasis to skill-based immigration, but the diversity lottery involves no selection at all. It does not make the workforce more skilled, reunite families, or further any humanitarian goals. Its exclusive purpose is to increase the diversity of immigrants’ national origins.

    The U.S. should not seek immigrant diversity simply for the sake of diversity. A random and haphazard approach to diversity is certainly not in the national interest.

    immigration reform

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Immigration "Diversity Lottery" Is Long Overdue for Abolition

    1. Lynda Woods Cleary says:

      Why is an immigration policy needed in the United States of America in December 2012? What is the goal? Approximately, 13% of the Nation's population was born in another country with 1.3% in West Virginia, 3.0% in Alabama, 19.9% in New Jersey and 21.8% in New York (United States Census 2010). Perhaps it is time for the citizens of this great Nation to actively get involved in discussing and setting the parameter

    2. Bobbie says:

      Only conceit influences what comes naturally. Diversity!! Lots of racist conceit in government control. That sounds so belittling. "Diversity Immigrant Visa Program." Why the variety in policy titles? Should only be one under one name to make it equal. Calling immigrants "dreamers" is also very condescending of the government democrats. People came to America to pursue their own dreams. Not pick them up at the government office. And so the children innocent as they are were brought in by those who aren't who cause great infringements on American livelihoods of various incomes. What penalties do the violators pay that aren't deducted?

      Why weaken the honorable abilities of man when there's an expectation for them in America?

    3. Hazel Ickes says:

      Can you please tell me the new program which is going to introduce? Most of the people gets benefited through this visa lottery..i don't know why they are going to abolish the same?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.