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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs