The American Green Card Lottery Program
The basis of the Green Card Lottery program began after the US Congress enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished racism from the immigration process. The lottery is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The motif behind the DV Lottery program is to attract applicants from various countries of the world with low immigration to the US, which will eventually diversify America’s existing cultural landscape and give opportunities to natives from countries other than the major base countries of immigration to the USA. The logic behind the lottery is based on the principle that the United States desires random people as opposed to people with relatives in the U.S., job offers or fleeing maltreatment. A Green Card holder is granted such legal rights that are within a statutory and regulated framework.
Starting in 1986, the United States established several temporary immigrant visa programs outside of the usual immigration preferences (family members or by employment). The first program was NP-5, run from 1987 to 1989, where a limited number of visas were issued on a first-come, first-served basis. The second program was OP-1, run through a lottery from 1989 to 1991 and available for natives of countries with low levels of recent immigration to the United States. The third program, AA-1, ran from 1992 to 1994 and was available for natives from a select group of countries that had been “adversely affected” by earlier immigration laws. Intentionally and in practice, people from Ireland and Northern Ireland benefited disproportionally from these programs. The Irish exclusion was expired, and in 1995, Congress decided the lottery Program is obliged to cover all world countries except the ones that have much number in the immigrant pool.
One of the congress main interest in reforming the immigration system in 1990 was to further enhance and promote diversity of immigrants. There were two main goals in reforming the immigration system, first, to increase immigration from Europe especially in the short term, and second to increase immigration from all currently underrepresented countries as a long term goal.
Starting in 2003, The U.S state department issued the requirement of Electronic Submission. This change made the submission process complex for many applicants worldwide. The reform was expected to decrease the participation rates from different countries, although no drastic changes took place.
The Green Card Lottery program produces 55,000 winners every year through a process of selection from the entries of individuals belonging from different countries which have had lowest rates of immigration in the past five years. Of the 55,000 visas, 5,000 have to be used for applicants under the Nicaraguan and Central America Relief Act (NACARA) of 1997. The reduction of the available visas limit to 50,000 began in DV-2000.
Although, only 50,000 immigrant visas are obtainable per year, there are over 110,000 selected winners in the DV Lottery program. The main reason for the larger selection is due to the fact that some of the winning applicants many not continue the process or either will not meet the relevant immigration requirements.
The United States of America prides itself on the concept that it is “a nation of immigrants”, and is the only nation that encourages immigration through an annual Lottery making itself the world’s most diverse nation in aspects of culture, beliefs, ethnicity, origins, nationalities, and sexual orientation. Through the DV lottery USA opens it gates for immigrants. As John F. Kennedy preached, “immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible.”