Horowitz: End the Diversity Lottery Today

By Daniel Horowitz

Originally published in ConservativeReview 

It’s the Halloween horror story of our immigration system. The diversity visa lottery is the prime example of the backwards nature of our immigration system. It violates the essence of the social compact, which places the citizenry in charge of immigration. The lottery, created in 1990, allows random foreign nationals to put their names in a hat and obtain a green card simply by luck. Rather than a deliberate system, it subjects our welfare and security to the random nature of a lottery. In light of yesterday’s terror attack, allegedly perpetrated by a 2010 winner of the lottery, it’s time to abolish this wrongheaded policy.

Lottery winners from dangerous countries

As I wrote in chapter eight of “Stolen Sovereignty,” the lottery was instituted as part of the 1990 immigration bill and was designed to foster more immigration from countries that don’t typically send large numbers of immigrants to our shores. Ironically, at the time, this meant Europe. And most of the initial beneficiaries were from Europe, particularly Ireland. In fact, like every other immigration proposal, this one was sold as a way of attracting more immigrants from Europe.

But in recent years, the primary recipients of diversity visas are from Africa and the Middle East, including Islamic countries such as Iran, Egypt, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, and Turkey. Over 77 percent of the diversity visas over the past decade have come from Africa and Asia. It is estimated that more than half of visa lottery recipients are from countries with a predominantly Muslim population. Ironically, Bangladesh and Egypt, for many years, were top recipients of the diversity visa lottery and among the fastest-growing sending countries of immigrants overall. We’ve brought in over 180,000 from Bangladesh since 2001, which has only recently become ineligible for the lottery because it has spawned such growth.

Roughly 45,000 to 55,000 individuals come here on green cards issued by this program every year. They don’t need any skills other than a high school diploma or two years of almost any work experience in anything. And given that they often have no ties to America and hail from third-world countries, it’s hard to prevent fraud or to properly vet them. One of the top winning countries of origin in 2016was Iran, a country from which we’ve admitted 191,000 immigrants since 2001.

Mark Levin spawned a national discussion over the absurdity of this program last night on his radio show after it was revealed that the suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, came here on the visa lottery program from Uzbekistan.

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