Tudor Cozm, staho.com, November 24, 2010
The USA Green Card Lottery just hit a new record: this year, 15 million people worldwide applied for a green card. The “diversity visa program” is in fact a government program that offers permanent U.S. residence to 50,000 people a year, randomly selecting the lucky winners. According to the State Department, this year’s green card lottery drew nearly 25 percent more applicants than last year. However, some lawmakers now call for an end to the immigration program.
Each year, the green card lottery causes a rage all across the developing world, with millions of applicants rushing to fill out online applications in hopes of winning a USA green card. This year the one-month enrollment ended November 3, and in the last hours 62,000 applications were submitted per hour. However, many critics argue that the government program poses major security risks by luring uneducated immigrants and allowing individuals worldwide to enter the country more quickly than others sponsored by employers or relatives. Also, the USA green card lottery has given an opportunity to many con artists to create hundreds of phishing sites and Internet scams.
The green card lottery program was launched in 1990 to promote diversity in the immigrant population. Now, it is open to people worldwide, except countries like Mexico, China, India and the Philippines, that already boast a great number of nationals in the U.S. Millions of people chase “The American Dream”, and the USA green card lottery is even more appealing as it doesn’t require any special skills, a high school diploma will do. The green card is often just the first step for someone who dreams of becoming a US citizen. Applying for US citizenship is the next step for many lottery winners.
The number of applications has been rising each year, and this year’s total was more than 2.5 times greater than five years ago. According to Mark Jacobsen, an immigration lawyer, the program costs nothing to enter and is the fastest way to get a green card and live in the United States, and is becoming increasingly more popular worldwide.
The draw will be made electronically and about 100,000 applicants will be notified in May and scheduled to undergo interviews, background checks and medical exams. Half of them will be eligible to move to the U.S. Although there is no cap on how many times can an individual enter the lottery, no country can represent more than seven percent of the total visas issued in one year.