Monday, June 06, 2011
Today, Yahoo had an article about how this year's diversity lottery experienced a computer glitch and awarded 90% of the first 22,000 (out of 50,000 openings) to people who applied in the first couple of days.
These people were elated that they won, and then crushed when the State Department said they will re-run the lottery. Immigration lawyers say they should honor these 22,000 results and randomly award the remaining openings from people who applied later.
I think that, since the government messed up, they should let these 22,000 people have their visas, remove their names from the pool, and re-run the lottery fairly (picking a new 50,000 from the left over pool).
But, like usual, I find the comments on Yahoo to be just as interesting as the articles. In this case, a lot of people think the whole idea of a random lottery to be dumb.
I actually like it and posted my own comment defending it:
Immigration to the United States has been a big factor in us being the world's only super power. In fact, there are some who argue that, going forward, our biggest competitive advantage against China and India is that we welcome immigrants and new ideas.
I think the Visa lottery is a good idea because:
1. It involves a relatively small amount of visas compared to those given out by other programs, that target skilled and/or wealthy immigrants.
2. The visas from those programs end up going to immigrants from just a handful of countries.
In other word, you can't centrally plan creativity and innovation. I think we are richer if we give artists, poets, dreamers, etc. from other countries a shot at 5% of the visas, rather than letting them all go to high tech companies bringing in computer workers and engineers from India, China, etc.
From my comment, please don't get the idea that I don't like computer consultants from India. My point is that they are well-represented. But, it is in the best interests of the U.S. to distribute a small percentage of visas randomly to people from countries that are under-represented from other visa programs, to diversify the pool.
This way, we increase our chances for allowing in someone who ends up contributing to our society, but would never have had a chance competing against skilled workers.