News / USA

    US Green Card Lottery Under Threat

    Immigration Reform May Spell End for Green Card Lotteryi
    X
    May 17, 2013 3:56 PM
    The popular Green Card Lottery program could be eliminated if the U.S. Congress passes the current version of the bipartisan immigration reform plan. The lottery was set up as a way to give anyone a chance at the "American dream." But as VOA’s Brian Padden reports, the new plan will focus instead on adding more highly-educated workers in science, technology, engineering and math.]]
    Brian Padden
    The popular Green Card Lottery program could be eliminated if the U.S. Congress passes the current version of the bipartisan immigration reform plan. The lottery was set up as a way to give anyone a chance at the "American dream." But the new plan will focus instead on adding more highly-educated workers in science, technology, engineering and math.

    Two years ago Rafiq-ul-Islam won a U.S. permanent resident visa through the Green Card Lottery and came to the United States from Bangladesh -- with little more than the clothing he owned and a dream of a better life in America.  

    “I apply for [and] came [to] America. I want to change my luck. If I can change my luck I can support my family, everything, all will be changed, everything like, that’s why I applied,” he said.

    The late Senator Edward Kennedy came up with the idea for a visa lottery system in the 1990s -- as a way to give opportunity to European and other countries with low immigration quotas. The lottery program -- officially known as the diversity visa -- is relatively small, granting about 50,000 visas compared to the more than one million new green cards issued each year.

    The lucky winners like ul-Islam must pass a background check, but need only a high school degree or work experience to qualify.  Immigration attorney Rajiv Khanna says the diversity visa has come to symbolize core American values.

    “But United States is blessed and perhaps cursed with that unique vision we have, that we are as a nation, a citizen of the world community.  And we have to accommodate certain things in good conscience and good faith rather than as a matter of self-interest,” Khanna said.

    But under the proposed immigration reform plan being considered by the U.S. Congress, the diversity visa faces elimination.  Instead, the plan would expand opportunities for professionals like Bhushan Parekh who hold advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.  Parekh’s H-1B professional visa was sponsored by a major U.S. company.

    “Because I had done the engineering in India, the 4-year degree, and I’d also worked in India for a year after.  During the interview process it was very apparent to them that I had the management skills they were looking for,” Parekh said.

    Some members of Congress oppose eliminating the diversity visa -- saying the U.S. should give some opportunity to the world's poor and disadvantaged.  But, in these hard economic times, Khanna says fairness is no longer the priority.

    “So diversity by itself is no longer the virtue that we seek in our current immigration system as proposed.  What we seek instead is, ‘What can you do for us?,’” Khanna said.

    Khanna says while U.S. businesses are lobbying for more professional visas, the poor from developing countries have no such powerful sponsors.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Nina from: Naples, FL
    May 17, 2013 2:28 PM
    There's something really wrong when someone who may not even speak English and may have very little in the way of work experience, can win a lottery and get greencards for himself and his family, when Those who come on E2 visas, invest money and create jobs for Americans have no path to permanent residency.


    E2 visa holders jump through all the hoops for the chance to live and work here legally. It's very upsetting to know others are getting green cards just because they've been lucky.

    Good riddance to the diversity lottery. Let those who actually contribute to America stay.
    In Response

    by: Nina from: Naples
    June 13, 2013 10:04 AM
    Well, dear, the Green Card Lottery is being abolished in favor of those who will benefit the United States. Those visas will now go to people who have worked hard and earned the right and privilege.

    BTW - I have no jealousy or hate, just a sense of right and wrong.
    In Response

    by: Ella
    June 12, 2013 2:39 PM
    It is called a Green Card Lottery dear. Is it fair when the richest of people win the money lottery as opposed to the poorest? It's not fair indeed but it is called a Lottery and we have no power over it. Don't be jelous and hating just because your life is harder than the others...

    by: david
    May 16, 2013 6:21 PM
    i don´t agree with green cards lottery because lots of the people that apply could be terrorist, and that´s one thing americans don´t want in this country
    In Response

    by: Ella
    June 12, 2013 2:42 PM
    Terrorist will find their way to come in this country or any other country if they wanted to. It would be like not going to the mall or to any other popular place thinking that there might be terrorist around. Lottery doesn't bring more terrorist over. It just gives many honest families a chance to live and work in the US. US is so big and there's a place for everybody if you want to make something of yourself.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.