Uzbekistan and the Diversity Visa Lottery

As my colleague Andrew Arthur has noted, the terrorist truck driver who killed eight people in New York City yesterday, was a beneficiary of the Diversity Visa Lottery, according to this ABC-TV news account.

The driver, who was wounded and captured by police at the site, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, holds a green card that he secured in 2010.

Saipov was a native of Uzbekistan, a predominantly Muslim nation.

President Trump immediately jumped on the connection between Saipov and the Diversity Lottery, which he opposes.

What I found interesting is that a large majority of the immigrants from that former USSR republic, came to the United States on diversity visas.

In 2015, for example, there were 2,524 lottery visas or adjustment of status beneficiaries reported for incoming permanent resident aliens coming from Uzbekistan, according to Department of State records, while Homeland Security statistics on all new green cards issued that year showed 3,977 for people from that nation.

In other words more than two-thirds of the incoming immigrants from that nation came through the diversity route, an unusually high percentage. Worldwide, only about 5 percent of incoming immigrants use that visa.

Typically, winners of the Diversity Vottery visa could come to the United States in no other way, or they would not have filed in this manner. The existence of the diversity lottery, therefore, was presumably the only reason why Saipov could be admitted to the States.

In 2015, the most recent year with this information, Uzbekistan was the fifth largest user of the lottery visas. The four highest users were Nepal 3,370; Egypt 3,456; Iran 2,661; and Congo 2,641.

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