As the part of his immigration policy, President Donald Trump has proposed to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program that allows around 55,000 people who have no family connection or employer sponsor to enter the U.S. each year. The green card lottery provides visa benefits to immigrants from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. But, in the past several month’s criticisms toward this program has heated up with President Trump proposing to end it. He said that this program is just randomly handing out green cards without any regard for skill, merit or the safety of American people. He clearly mentioned that immigrants who enter the U.S. through the Diversity Visa Program are the “trash” and “worst of the worst.”
Trump proposed to end this program after a truck killed eight people in New York City last fall where Sayfullo Saipov, the driver of the truck, came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010 through green card lottery system. Some critics regarded the attack as an example of how the program brings security risks to the Americans. Each year, less than 1% of the applicants are luckily selected through a computer program operated by the USCIS. Of the 50,000 people who come to the U.S. annually through the program, about 20,000 come from African countries. Indian-Americans, who are highly skilled come to the US only on student and H-1B work visas, are the worst ethnic group that suffers from the current immigration system. Trump’s immigration proposal will end the diversity lottery visa to help reduce green card backlog of high-skilled workers. The White House said today amid growing demands by Indian H-1B visa holders to remove the per country-limit on its allotment.
Here’s How Green Card Lottery System Works
The diversity visa program, also known as the green-card lottery, was started in 1995. This program aims to offer a chance for people outside the U.S. to get permanent residency and to provide diversity in America. If a person is qualified and chosen, the USCIS will allow them to receive a green card which offers all the benefits of permanent residency in the U.S except for voting during elections. Each year, there are 55,000 quotas available to people from all over the world except the citizens of countries that have sent 50,000 people to the United States in the past five years such as China, India, Canada, Mexico, and Nigeria. To be eligible, Green Card applicants must have at least a high school education or two years of working experiences. Lottery winners are randomly chosen through a computer program operated by the USCIS after submitting their documents along with interviews at the U.S. embassy in their home country. While a certain amount of luck determine whether an applicant gets selected or not, each year, only less than 1% of applicants are selected and undergo a background check. They could get selected to this program if the background check is a success.
To those who support the green card lottery program believes this diversity program can provide America with a positive reputation and live up to the ideals of freedom and liberty as a symbolic representation of the Statue of Liberty. Once awarded the green card, winners have only six months to move to the U.S. with the opportunity of bringing their spouse and children to enter the country.
Here is a brief description of how the program works:
- Applicants register online in the Department Home of Security (DHS) for the lottery around October;
- Lottery winners are randomly selected through a computer operated by the USCIS;
- Lottery winners will get notified around May in the following year stating they can apply for the diversity visa program;
- The visa application process and interviews begin Oct. 1. This step includes a thorough background check such as biographic and biometric screening against U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism databases;
- Once awarded the green card, winners have only six months to move to the U.S. from date of issuance on the visa;
Lottery winners must meet minimum education and work experience requirements, and winners are chosen at random by a computer. Also, winning the lottery does not necessarily mean the person will always come to the U.S. They still need to be thoroughly inspected before being awarded a visa.
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