- By Murali Bashyam, Esq.
During a recent event for the non-profit Friends Unite, Africa Economic Foundation founder, Dr. Philip Mwalali, told us about the small village in Africa called Kilisa with very little resources where he grew up. He told us how he worked very hard and became prominent doctor in Kenya. He was motivated to become a doctor because he wanted to give back to his village and help them improve their quality of life.
Dr. Mwalali now lives in the United States. He and his family were chosen for U.S. residency through what is called the Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery program. Today, he, along with many others in the U.S. and in Kenya, continue to help the villagers and children in Kilisa have a better life.
This is a real-life example of how this program can really make a difference in the lives of a wide spectrum of people. It is also an example that the program is available to a diverse group of intending immigrants.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) program is a U.S. Congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving U.S. Permanent Resident Status (green card). It is administered on an annual basis, and makes available 50,000 permanent residency visas to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Currently, Africa and Europe receive about 80% of the visas in the lottery.
In recent years, the DV program has come under fire from anti-immigrant groups. Their main argument is that the program provides U.S. permanent resident status to unskilled or low skilled people, and those people do not benefit the United States. They also say that it is easy for terrorists to apply under the program and obtain a U.S. green card. Of course, like all other residency cases, DV winners must go through an extensive FBI background check before getting U.S. resident status.
Dr. Mwalali was an educated doctor before he even entered the U.S. as a permanent resident. As with any immigration program, there will be flaws. But we should recognize the good that these programs do instead of constantly focusing on those flaws.
As John Wilcock, a visa specialist with the State Department, said during a recent Washington Foreign Press Center media briefing, as he explained the 1990 law that created a new class of diversity immigrants, “The idea was to diversify the immigrant pool.”
The entry period to apply for the DV-2012 program is from October 5, 2010 to November 3, 2010. We’ve included all of the registration details on our Immigration News Blog.