Cato Goes All In On Diversity Lottery

Under fire for its terrorist links and capricious selections, America’s “Diversity Lottery” (DV program) is getting some lame backup from the open-borders crowd at the Cato Institute.

The libertarian think tank has taken to touting the DV program’s randomly selected recipients of U.S. green cards, asserting that they’re so much better educated than this country’s native-born citizens.

Amid their spin, the fine minds at Cato aren’t shooting straight.

Cato’s claim that “nearly half of all diversity immigrants who arrived in 2015 had college degrees” may, or may not, be correct. No government reports on the visa program confirm Cato’s finding.

In the absence of actual data, Cato makes assumptions. It generalizes the demographic profiles of immigrants from sending countries and applies them to winners of the random lottery. Then it uses a 15-year-old study to conclude that educational attainment of diversity migrants has remained consistent even as the lottery list shifted toward Third World nations like Ghana and the Congo.

The goal of the DV program is to admit more immigrants from “countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States,” according to the U.S. State Department.

The big winner in the 2016 DV sweepstakes was Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation with a 66 percent literacy rate. Next was Egypt, followed by Iran, the Congo, Uzbekistan and Ethiopia.

Even if Cato’s not-so-educated guesses were in the ballpark, they strike out by failing to even mention, let alone address, the diversity lottery’s documented national-security vulnerabilities.

Six known terrorists entered the U.S. via the lottery, and 30,000 came from terror-linked nations in the past decade as the Obama administration tweaked diversity quotas in favor of Muslim countries.

Among the supposedly well-schooled lottery winners was Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the 29-year-old Uzbek national who mowed down a crowd of bicyclists and pedestrians last Halloween in New York.

Diversity Lottery: A stupid idea that became dangerous

“The diversity lottery is ideal for terrorists because it encourages immigration from those parts of the world where fraud is common and documents are difficult to verify,” notes the Center for Immigration Studies. “If one were to set out to design a visa that was ideal for terrorists, the visa lottery system would be it.”

Little wonder that President Trump wants to scrap the diversity lottery altogether.

Cato’s immigration enthusiasts don’t bother offering ways to reform or tighten the problematic program. Instead, they gullibly wave college sheepskins as the banner of immigrant excellence. Not smart.

About Author


Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)’s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.


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