The World's Dumbest Immigration Program: The Visa Lottery
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As part of Ted Kennedy’s not very successful efforts to import more Irishmen to vote for Kennedys, America has had since the 1990s a diversity visa lottery that lets in 50,000 lucky winners per year from obscure countries that don’t send all that many immigrants through other channels. It establishes beachheads for, say, Nepalese who can then launch the chain migration process. From Pew Research Center:
Applications for U.S. visa lottery more than doubled since 2007

MARCH 24, 2017

… During the application period for fiscal year 2017, about 19 million people applied for the U.S. diversity visa program, otherwise known as the visa lottery. That’s more than twice as many as the 9 million who applied a decade ago, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. During the same period, the number of visas issued to the principal applicants, spouses and children via the lottery has remained stable at about 50,000 per year (due to an annual ceiling set by Congress), or a little more than 500,000 since 2007.

How many Ivy League professors would show up to testify to Congress that letting people in at random is Who We Are?
In operation since 1995, the visa lottery seeks to diversify the U.S. immigrant population by granting visas to underrepresented nations. Citizens of countries with the most legal immigrant arrivals in recent years – such as Mexico, Canada, China and India – are not eligible to apply. …

If selected for a diversity visa, however, individuals must provide detailed background information and submit to visa interviews, security checks and health screenings and pay $330. Upon entry into the U.S., diversity visa recipients are given lawful permanent residence status, which gives them permission to work and live permanently in the U.S.

The U.S. visa lottery program is unique in the world.

Thanks, Ted!
(New Zealand has a similar program, but it is smaller in scale and only open to neighboring countries in Oceania.) Immigration programs in many other countries prioritize skills, family relationships or humanitarian need.
Whereas America prioritizes randomness.
… In fiscal 2015 (the most recent year for detailed data on application countries), about 12% of the 14.4 million people who applied for the visa lottery were citizens of Ghana (1.7 million).
Ghana had a population of 15 million in 1990, but that’s up to 27 million in 2015. The UN projects Ghana’s population at 50 million in 2050 and 73 million in 2100. So, when it comes to Ghanians, there will be Lots More Where Those Came From.
An additional 10%, or nearly 1.4 million applicants, were from Uzbekistan.
Wasn’t an Uzbek immigrant in the news recently?
Other top application countries included Ukraine (nearly 1.3 million applicants), Iran (more than 900,000) and Nepal (nearly 900,000). Numbers include principal applicants, their spouses and their children.

In some countries, a marked share of the population has applied for the program. In the Republic of Congo, for example, 10% of the country’s citizens applied for the program in fiscal 2015.

The Republic of Congo is Little Congo. The UN projects it will have only 20 million people by the end of the century, versus 357 million next door in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), or Big Congo.
Other African countries with high shares of applicants included Liberia (8%), Sierra Leone (8%) and Ghana (7%). European countries such as Albania (7%), Moldova (5%) and Ukraine (3%) also saw substantial shares of their populations submitting applications. In Asia, Uzbekistan (5%) and Nepal (3%) also had vast shares of their populations apply.
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