What is the Diversity Visa program?

The program was established as a part of the Immigration Act of 1990 and it makes 50,000 diversity visas (DV) each year, according to a Department of State official. (Nov. 1, 2017)

President Donald Trump is calling for an end to a U.S. immigration program following a terrorist plot in New York City that killed eight people.

The suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old truck driver from Uzbekistan, was shot and arrested by police Tuesday afternoon after emerging from the truck and waving what appeared to be a weapon. 

Saipov entered the United States through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program which was established to diversify the immigrant population coming to the United States.

In Washington, President Trump called the suspect an “animal.” At a gathering of his Cabinet, Trump told reporters he would ask Congress to “immediately” begin work to terminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which he says was used by the alleged attacker to enter the United States.

“Diversity lottery. Sounds nice. It's not nice. It's not good,” Mr. Trump said during a cabinet meeting Wednesday. “It's not good. It hasn't been good. We've been against it.”

The Diversity Lottery Program was established as a part of the Immigration Act of 1990.

The program makes 50,000 diversity visas (DV) each year, according to a Department of State official. Individuals are randomly selected, must meet strict eligibility requirements, and come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The low-rate for each country is determined by countries who had less than 50,000 people immigrated to the United States under its various visa programs over the last five years.

Last year, nearly 47,000 applicants were chosen from more than 11,000,000 qualified entries, according to Department of State data. Meaning, natural born citizens from hundreds of countries around the world qualify for the DV program.

US Department of State: Diversity Visa Stats for 2016

18 countries do not qualify for the program including Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Palostan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom except Northern Ireland, and Vietnam.

A list of DV eligible countries may be found by clicking here

Unlike other U.S. Visa programs that have employment or family based qualifier, immigrants entering the United States under the DV program only need to meet basic education or work experience requirements to qualify.

However, the security screening process remains the same as traditional visa programs including interviews, biometrics, fingerprinting, and facial recognition scans according to a Department of State official.

This 25 minute video by the Department of State has more information on how to apply for the DV program. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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