PanAm Podcast: Is It Time to End the “Diversity Visa” Program?

The recent terrorist attack in New York City has brought scrutiny upon a little-known immigration provision known as the “Diversity Visa” program, which provides visas and green cards for citizens of foreign countries traditionally underrepresented in the United States.

On October 31, Sayfullo Saipov, a diversity visa recipient from Uzbekistan, rented a truck, and drove it onto a bike path along the Hudson River, killing eight people. Uzbekistan has been a particularly large recipient of diversity visas over the past decade.

Proponents of the program claim it fosters good will and publicity for the United States, while making the immigration process more fair by allowing citizens of nations with few immigration options a path to arrive in the United States.

Critics point out that such a “lottery” is antithetical to the notion of merit-based immigration system, and suggest that immigration should be tied to jobs and contributions to the economy.

While we shouldn’t make public policy merely based on sensational headlines, it is clear that politicians in both parties should seriously reevaluate the Diversity Visa program, and have a frank and open dialogue regarding whether or not it really benefits the United States.

The diversity visa program appears to be a classic leftist pipe dream, driven more by the dictates of political correctness than by practicality or reality. Diversity, in and of itself, for arbitrary reasons, is a foolhardy goal.

Just because you reside in a nation that has historically sent few immigrants to the United States, you should not receive special treatment or special immigration programs. There is no inherent reason that the US should prioritize immigration from Uzbekistan or anywhere else, simply because we have few Uzbeks in the United States.

Immigration should be a meritocracy, period; and it is high time that the American people make this demand upon politicians of both parties.

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