Republicans have been gunning to end the lottery for years and they scored a victory in that effort this morning. The House Judiciary Committee voted to scrap the lottery that has been happening annually for more than two decades. The bill was sponsored by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte and now will go to the full House for a vote. There is no indication at this point that the Senate will follow.
The lottery has always been controversial. It's purpose is to increase the diversity of the immigration pool and it is credited with increasing the percentage of immigrant visas held by Africans. But it also has been the target of fraud both in the way applicants have entered and with scammers fooling people in to believing they've won the lottery and getting money from the duped would-be winners. The computer glitch that caused people to be incorrectly selected only added to the program's woes.
Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee attempted to amend the bill to ask for a study by DHS first to see if the program could be reviewed and recommendations offered to fix flaws, but this was rejected by Republicans.
Some pro-immigration advocates have suggested that if the program is scrapped, the 55,000 green cards be reallocated to employment and family immigration categories. The fact that Republicans have rebuffed such suggestions might lead some to conclude that the motivation is more to reduce overall immigration numbers than to attack a flawed immigration program.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.