Play the Green Card Lottery!

Are you an eligible prospective immigrant to the United States? Are you feeling lucky? If so, you have 10 more days to apply for the random selection process conducted annually by the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program—in other words, the "green card lottery." The entry window, which opened October 2, closes November 30, and your chances of winning are a sobering 1 in 240: 12 million will enter, 50,000 will win.

Depending on who you are and which country you come from, your opinion of this lottery will probably vary. You might view it as a good-faith attempt to sustain the credo engraved on the Statue of Liberty while balancing it against national security considerations, the pragmatic processing capacity of America's federal government, and so on. Or you might protest that its application window is small and its rate of acceptance callously low—that Lady Liberty's "golden door" should be open to all, all year round. Regardless, odds are that you'll be no less likely to want to move here than you were before the recession: the State Department predicts a huge jump in the number of lottery applicants, from 8.7 to 12 million.


A number of Big Think's experts have had strong opinions about U.S. immigration policy—including, most recently, former Republican Congressman Dick Armey, who condemned his own party's stance for having a "mean spirit" and representing a "failed political vision." Big Think readers undoubtedly have their own opinions, and are welcome to share them in the Comments.

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