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Immigration Law

Expert: Diversity Visa Lottery a "Crazy Way" to Run Immigration System

Miriam Jordan, New York Times, Nov. 1, 2017 - "The terrorist attack in New York quickly turned into a debate over immigration policy after President Trump revealed Wednesday that Sayfullo Saipov, the man accused of killing eight people, had benefited from an obscure program known as the diversity visa lottery. ... Winners are interviewed, undergo background checks and medical exams. Many are eliminated for failing to meet requirements and deadlines. Ultimately, 50,000 people — lottery winners, as well as spouses and minor children they want to bring over — are awarded visas, which entitle them to move to the United States as legal permanent residents, or green card holders. Like most others with green cards, they may apply for citizenship after five years. ... Critics have long contended that the program poses security risks, brings in low-skilled immigrants and is unfair because it enables people with no connection to the United States to enter more easily than others. “A lottery is a crazy way to run an immigration system,” said Steve Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School, adding, “No other country selects immigrants based on a lottery.” Among supporters of the program are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who highlight that it helps Africans who otherwise would not have the opportunity to come to the United States."