Immigration from Africa to the United States under the diversity visa lottery program exploded over the last two decades, surging from 29 percent of the program’s total immigrant population in 1995 to up to 50 percent during the Obama years, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.
The report, “Diversity Immigrants’ Regions and Countries of Origin: Fact Sheet,” by immigration policy analyst Jill Wilson, explains the purpose of the program was to “provide an avenue for immigration from countries other than the major sending countries of current immigrants.”
In 1995, 47 percent of the program’s immigrants were from Europe and 17 percent from Asia, with fractional amounts from other locales.
In the most recent year for which reports are available, 2016, just 24 percent were from Europe and 31 percent from Asia.
Enacted in 1990, the program accounts for about 5 percent of all immigrants.
Six global geographic regions are defined, and the law limits each country to no more than 7 percent of the total.
“Since its inception, the geographic origins of DV (diversity visa) immigrants have shifted away from Europe toward Africa and Asia,” the report said.
“Since 2006, Africa has maintained the largest proportion, garnering as much as 50 percent of diversity visas in FY2009, while Europe’s share fell to a low of 18 percent.”
“Meanwhile, the share of DV immigrants from Asia grew steadily over time, surpassing Europe’s share in FY2008 and remaining second to Africa since then.”
Over the years, six countries have accounted for the most diversity visas: Ethiopia with 65,224, Nigeria with 58,548, Egypt with 53,944, Ukraine with 50,624, Albania with 44,806 and Bangladesh with 40,847.
Congress is now working on a comprehensive immigration bill that will address border security as well as the approximately 800,000 people covered by President Obama’s canceled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program who were brought to the country by their illegal-alien parents.
President Trump wants to cancel the diversity visa program, focusing on merit-based immigration, and obtain funding for a border wall in exchange for allowing the DACA recipients to stay.