Visa Lottery Winners Sue Trump

The Trump administration is a sitting duck for immigration-related lawsuits. Several hundred have been filed. In perhaps the most bizarre legal action, about 200 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV) winners and their relatives recently filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration. More than 500 plaintiffs allege that President Donald Trump’s June Executive Order which suspended the arrival into the U.S. of certain visa holders, including DV lottery winners, is illegal.

At the time, the Trump administration said that the immigration pause is designed to protect American workers during the COVID-19 crisis that, at the time, resulted in more than 40 million Americans’ unemployment, and forced hundreds of small businesses to shut down forever. DV winners and the family members they eventually petition receive lifetime valid employment authorization documents. No intelligent argument can be made that the 50,000 annual DV winners won’t, by virtue of their work-authorized status, compete with U.S. workers. The plaintiffs’ lawyer claimed, however, that in actions President Trump took earlier this year, he “sabotaged” the DV. As the old saying goes, no good deed – in this case, the DV which paved the way for thousands of foreign-born nationals unlikely to ever reach U.S. shores to successfully migrate any other way – goes unpunished.

Immigration expansionists illogically contend that reducing immigration hurts the U.S. economy and hampers a COVID-19 recovery, tedious, long-ago debunked arguments that don’t compute. Reducing legal immigration, currently at the annual rate of more than 1 million work-authorized Green Card holders, inarguably helps American workers hold on to their increasingly tenuous jobs, an obvious conclusion now that the pandemic has left tens of millions of U.S. workers in its wake.

The Immigration Act of 1990 created the DV, and its original intention was to bring migrants to the U.S. from countries that sent relatively few immigrants. But the lottery draws randomly from aliens whose family ties, education and job skills may be limited, and whose contributions to the U.S. may therefore be minimal. The DV’s random nature also exposes U.S. citizens to potential terrorist threats. In October 2017, a DV winner and Uzbek national plowed his pickup truck into a midtown Manhattan crowd, killing eight and injuring 11, one of several such tragedies.

Fraud is another crime inexorably linked to the useless DV. Commonplace among foreign nationals seeking to abuse the DV lottery’s guidelines is to submit multiple applications that use different aliases and cite other erroneous personal information. The DV has spawned a cottage industry wherein would-be U.S. sponsors falsely promise, in exchange for exorbitant fees, to guarantee success to the unsuspecting applicant. Ill-informed foreign nationals are willing to pay top dollar for the so-called guarantee of lawful U.S. permanent resident status in the U.S.

DV apologists never mention the visa’s inherent unfairness. The lottery program permits illegal aliens and visa overstayers to apply for a DV, thereby treating those who blatantly violate federal immigration laws in the same manner that it does law-abiding foreign nationals. Furthermore, most family-sponsored immigrants wait years and even decades to obtain a visa, but the DV program pushes 50,000 lucky, random lottery winners to the head of the line with little if any wait. The unfairness sends the wrong message to the international community.

Despite the understandable dismay, disappointment and inconvenience that DV-winning individuals are experiencing this year, all parties must remember that immigration’s purpose is to serve the national interest. During a U.S. economic and health emergency, an immigration pause is mandatory, helps the U.S. climb out of its crisis, and shouldn’t be wrongly interpreted as a sinister Trump administration anti-immigrant maneuver.