The world will have to face the reality of an existence without the Diversity Visa Lottery after U.S President Donald Trump backed a new Senate bill to slash immigration levels.
The Bill known as Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) seeks to remove the visa lottery that has seen over a million people from all over the world especially from Africa and eastern Europe gain U.S citizenship. The proposed bill is one of the campaign promises that Trump made during his campaign and his Republican Party is pushing it through.
Trump has indicated he prefers a system that rewards merit and skill rather than the uncertainty of a lottery.
“This legislation will not only restore our competitive edge in the 21st century, but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens,” Mr. Trump said according to the New York Times.
Sponsors of the bill Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia however face a hard task in convincing 60 out of the 100 members of the Senate including its 48 Democrats to back the extravagantly named Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (RAISE).
A host of African countries will be keeping an eye on the legislation with eight out of the top 12 participating countries found on the continent according to the Pew Research Centre. The West African nation of Ghana will be especially apprehensive as it is the leading applicant of the lottery in the world with an estimated 1.73 million people taking part in the lottery in 2015,around 7% of its population.
Carly Goodman, a historian who has written a book about the Diversity Lottery in an interview with TheIndependent.ie however things the abolition of the lottery will affect the USA.
“This programme is pretty powerful public diplomacy for the US that signals its openness and generosity,” she said, noting that many Africans she spoke to for her book viewed the lottery as aid or a gift from America to Africa. The lottery also pays for itself in visa application fees, she noted.
“Its elimination would be very short-sighted,” she said.