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Green cards issued via lottery casualty of immigration overhaul?

Those who have been waiting in the United States for a green card are likely all too aware of how frustrating the process can be. There are a variety of ways in which a green card can be obtained. Regular readers of this blog may be aware of those that may be obtained either through family or work relationships. There is another program that few may be aware of in which applicants could obtain permanet residentcy via a green card. It is known as the diversity green card and recipeints are selected via a lottery.

Under this program, each year a total of 55,000 individuals who applied are provided green cards each year. The recipients are literally selected at random. In addition to the winners, their children and spouses receive residency in the U.S. Though a long shot, the program has been a popular one. In 2012 close to 8 million individuals entered the lottery.

The purpose of the program has been to provide diversity to the U.S. Individuals eligible for the program cannot have a criminal record and must have either worked for two years or have a high school degree. In addition, once selected a background check and interviews are performed. Assuming the selected individual passes, the visa will be granted.

Under the immigration overhaul currently being debated, the program has been slated to be cut. As would be expected, there are many who are displeased with the change. Quite a few individuals who obtained green cards via the program have prospered in ways they would not have in their native countries. Just how this matter will play out remains to be seen.

Source: Washington Post, "Green card lottery, a ticket to hope for many, could be eliminated," Pamela Constable, May 12, 2013

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