An im­mi­grant scheme that makes no sense

The At­lantic

The Week - - News - David Frum

“Not even Don­ald Trump can be wrong all the time,” says David Frum. His plan to scrap the Di­ver­sity Im­mi­grant Visa Pro­gramme – the pro­ce­dure un­der which the per­pe­tra­tor of last week’s New York ter­ror­ist at­tack en­tered the US, from his na­tive Uzbek­istan – makes sense. The pro­gramme is a lot­tery that ran­domly al­lo­cates 50,000 visas each year to peo­ple from coun­tries that don’t al­ready send lots of im­mi­grants to the US. It was con­ceived in the late 1980s, largely to ben­e­fit Ir­ish im­mi­grants, whom some thought were be­ing crowded out by the in­flux from Mex­ico. But by the time the sys­tem went into ef­fect, in 1995, the Ir­ish econ­omy was boom­ing, mak­ing em­i­gra­tion less ap­peal­ing. The sys­tem to­day mostly serves as “the favoured way for ur­ban Africans to es­cape their con­ti­nent”. In the fis­cal year 2015, 10% of the pop­u­la­tion of the Repub­lic of Congo ap­plied for the US di­ver­sity lot­tery, along with 8% of the peo­ple of Sierra Leone and 7% of Ghana. “What Amer­i­can pur­pose is served” by this? The lot­tery doesn’t unify fam­i­lies or se­lect peo­ple based on skills or hu­man­i­tar­ian con­cerns; it’s just a “golden ticket” for ran­dom in­di­vid­u­als. Time to ditch it.

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