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Terror & The Diversity Visa Process: Why Blaming the Process Is Not The Answer

First off, my heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims and all of those who were affected by the terrorist attack this week in New York. We as a country must come together to prevent future attacks of both citizens and non-citizen immigrants.

The Trump Administration has decided to reprimand the Diversity Visa Lottery this upcoming year. The Diversity Visa Program was established to grant 50,000 individuals with a visa by entering a lottery of over 14 million people. Ending the DV lottery would put thousands of individuals out of a visa that they may not otherwise been able to obtain.

Screening Process

The screening process of DV lottery winners is as thorough and in depth as any other immigrant visa application process. Winners are subject to various procedures to confirm their identity such as fingerprint and photo biometric captures. Their identity is then screened through a governmental database to check for any criminal background or affiliation with gangs or watch-lists.

DV winners are subject to an in-person interview where they are then further questioned about their identity, life and any aspects that could aid to the denial of their visa. If the consulate is not satisfied with the interview or the case requires more information, a “Security Advisory Opinion” may be requested from DOS headquarters. The screening process of DV winners is lengthy, difficult, and can take many months to complete. DV winners are not promised a visa until after the screening process concludes the winner as free of a criminal record, previous immigration violations, security concerns or health issues that would affect their visa.

DV Lottery History and Process

The Diversity Visa Lottery was created in 1990 to grant 50,000 visas to individuals that are from countries who have low rates of immigration to the United States. The number of individuals that have immigrated on a visa from a certain country in the past 5 years will determine how many visas are granted from that specific country that year. Winners of the DV lottery must receive their visa within that fiscal year. Countries with high rates of immigration to the US such as Pakistan, India, Mexico, the Philippines and Brazil may not be eligible to be part of the DV lottery.

If a DV lottery winners processing time precedes the fiscal year due to any obstructions or delays in the screening procedure, the winner will not be able to obtain their visa. The applicants of the DV lottery must obtain certain educational or skilled work experience to be granted a visa through this process. The odds of winning the DV lottery are slim to none but the process of a lottery is a crucial component to the US immigration system.

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