USAFIS ANSWERS: Is U.S. government eliminating the Green Card Lottery program?

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Last month, U.S. Congressman Bob Goodlatte introduced a bill to get rid of the Green Card Lottery. He said the program poses a security threat to the USA. The bill is called the Security and Fairness Enhancement (SAFE) for America Act.

The congressman used the example of Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet, who killed two and wounded three at Los Angeles International Airport in July of 2002. Hedayet was an Egyptain national who came to USA through the Green Card Lottery. Goodlatte also said that the program is unfair to those who are waiting years for visas through family-based immigration. Those selected in the Green Card Lottery receive legal entry to the United States in a short amount of time. The bill is still in committee and has not received a majority vote in Congress yet.

This is not the first time Congress tried to eliminate the Green Card Lottery. In 2005, Congress voted 273-148 to eliminate the program. However, the United States Senate never passed the bill. Another attempt was made in 2007; however, instead of getting rid of the Green Card Lottery, Congress asked that funding be taken away. This time the Senate went along with it. Still, the final version of the bill did not include the removal of funding for the Green Card Lottery.

There are members of Congress such as Sheila Jackson Lee who support the Green Card Lottery and introduced a bill several years ago to expand the program from granting 50,000 visas to 110,000. She is in favor of giving immigrants a chance to take part of the American Dream.

In a congressional debate in 2007, Congressman John Conyers said that the Green Card Lottery gave the same chance to go after the American dream that "many of the ancestors of the members of Congress were able to pursue."

As part of our mission, USAFIS will continue to update you on the latest congressional news about the Green Card Lottery. It is important to know that around five years ago, some congressional people wanted to decrease the amount of visas granted in the program. The easiest way to get a Green Card is through the Lottery. It is wise to apply for the program now. As always, USAFIS is there to help you in the process through our application review service.

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