Is the Green Card Lottery a National Security Thread

January 14, 2010                                                                           Win a green card Subscribe in a reader

The green card lottery program was established in 1990 and awards approximately 55,000 permanent resident visas to foreign nationals by conducting a random lottery. According to testimony of the US State Department’s Inspector General during the 109th Congress, “the Diversity Visa program contains significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals, and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the United States as permanent residents.”

Most visas are issued to foreign nationals who have existing relationships with lawful U.S. residents or employers. However, the visa lottery awards permanent resident visas based on pure luck. This leaves open the door to those who want to enter the United States to harm our citizens.

The visa lottery also is unfair to law-abiding immigrants. Family-sponsored immigrants currently face waits of years to be reunited with their families. Each year, the visa lottery program pushes 55,000 random immigrants ahead of these family-sponsored immigrants waiting to be reunited with their families.

Thousands from terror sponsoring nations get U.S. citizenship

The State Department is planning to welcome thousands of immigrants from terror-watch list countries into the United States this year through the “diversity visa” lottery - a giant legal loophole some lawmakers say is a “serious national security threat” that has gone unchecked for years.

Ostensibly designed to increase ethnic diversity among immigrants, the program invites in thousands of poorly educated laborers with few job skills - and that’s only the beginning of its problems, according to lawmakers and government investigations.

“There are a lot of holes in this program in terms of security and in terms of fraud,“ said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who has written legislation aimed at killing the lottery.

2009 Christmas Day terror attack

Now, in the wake of the botched Christmas Day terror attack that emerged from Nigeria and Yemen, members of Congress are worried the system could be vulnerable to radicals looking to “play” the visa lottery as a means of migrating to the U.S.

Among the winners for 2010 are people from the following nations:

Country Number of individuals
Nigeria 6,006
Morocco 3,124
Iran 2,773
Algeria 1,957
Sudan 1,084
Afghanistan 345
Cuba 298
Somalia 229
Lebanon 181
Libya 152
Jordan 143
Iraq 142
Saudi Arabia 104
Syria 98
Yemen 72

For a complete list go to Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery (DV-2010) Results.

Fraudulent Lottery Visa information

State Department records show that lottery winners often file fraudulent visa information. The country with the largest number of lottery winners last year, Nigeria, had a diversity lottery visa refusal rate of a whopping 80 percent, i.e. to end up with the 6006 approved winners the U.S. State Department had to evaluate more than 30,000 applications recieved from people in Nigeria. Since the lottery invites visa applications from almost anyone (about 8 million people applied last year) and only requires credentials after selection, it often prompts a mad rush for bogus documents once the winners are notified.

Fraud is bad enough when people lie about education or work experience. But in an age of terrorism, immigration loopholes can pose a dire security threat. Weeding out fraudulent lottery applications is a diversion for officials charged with identifying terrorists among the millions seeking to come to America.

Terrorists gaining access to the U.S. via the DV Lottery

This is particularly troubling because the lottery draws about one third of its applicants from Muslim-majority countries, where it provides a disproportionately important means of immigration. Some 20-25 percent of immigrants from Egypt, Bangladesh, and Sudan came that way in 2009, as did nearly half of Moroccan and Algerian immigrants.

Diversity Visa Lottery Terrorism

Several lottery winners have already been involved in terrorism in the United States.

Michigan sleeper cell member Karim Koubriti, convicted of terror-related charges in the summer of 2002, was a lottery winner from Morocco. So was Ahmed Hannan, who was convicted of document fraud in the same trial.

The most notorious lottery winner is Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet, the Egyptian immigrant who went to Los Angeles International Airport to kill Jews on July 4, 2002 and killed two people.

Hedayet came to this country on a temporary visa, became an illegal alien when he overstayed his welcome, then applied for asylum, was denied, again becoming an illegal alien, and finally got a green card when his wife won the green card lottery.

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