Diversity Lottery Program Sparks Debate

50-thousand individuals a year win the Green Card Lottery

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Diversity Visa Lottery Program has been in existence since the early 1990's.  It allows 50,000 Green Cards to be issued a year by simply winning a lottery.

The Uzbek suspect in the New York terror attack Tuesday came into this country in 2010 under the Diversity Visa Lottery.

"The Program has been controversial since day one" said Rosanna Berardi of Berardi Immigration Law.  "We have a very restrictive Immigration system that requires any person that wants a green card to be sponsored by a family member or an employer. So when this program was rolled out, it seemed inherently unfair to dole out green cards to people who play a lottery". 

Berardi said the program has been under scrutiny for years and everytime there is a new presidential administration, an attempt is made to shut it down.  But there has been no success to date.

The green card means permanent resident status to live and work in the U.S. forever. 

To get the green card applicants undergo some vetting that includes a background check and medical exam. 

Asked what she thinks will happen to the program, Berardi tells WBEN, "I expect it to stay simply because Congress can't seem to get anything done right now". 

Examining the Diversity Visa Program - Rosanna Berardi


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