The United States is taking a closer look at its immigration policies after an attack in New York city left 8 dead and many more wounded. According to President Trump, the man who allegedly murdered pedestrians in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City “entered the U.S. in 2010 from Uzbekistan under the Diversity Visa Lottery before obtaining a Green Card.” The major issue has now turned to President Trump’s previous push to eliminate the program all together. For this article, I wanted to give a brief explanation of the program and hopefully give you a basic idea of the benefits and controversy. Below are a few bullet points that will hopefully help you in your understanding of Diversity Visas (information was collect from Briebart News and CNN).
- The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program awards up to 50,000 individuals per year a visa for a green card. These individuals come from countries with low American immigration numbers, but can include countries with terrorist problems including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.
- Diversity recipients must have at least a high school education or equivalent and must have had at least two years of experience working a job that requires at least two years of training or experience within five years of the date of the application. In addition they must meet all security requirements that all immigrants must clear.
- The process includes an in person interview.
- Most Diversity Visa recipients have family connections already in the United States
- Both Democrats and Republicans have agreed in some capacity that the Diversity Visa program should be reformed.
- In 2013, [Democrat Chuck] Schumer helped author the Gang of Eight bill that passed the Senate by a wide margin, which would have replaced the program. The Gang of Eight measure was the result of a bipartisan effort to secure comprehensive immigration reform and had included senators such as Florida Republican Marco Rubio and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. The bill died in the House.
Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue have introduced a bill, endorsed by Trump, that would eliminate the diversity lottery and certain categories of family-based green cards, and then would transform the remaining employment-based visas into a point system that favors heavily highly skilled, highly educated, English-speaking immigrants.
- While both ideas have support neither has been able to gather enough to pass both the House and Senate.