How undocumented Irish immigrants transformed the U.S. visa system.
Each October, millions of people around the world submit applications for a lottery with a unique prize: a U.S. green card. For people in countries that have sent few immigrants to the United States, the annual Diversity Visa lottery is one of the only ways to legally immigrate to the United States, turning it into a symbol of the American Dream for many aspiring immigrants.
Now, however, some visa lottery winners may find themselves shut out. The Supreme Court’s decision to let the Trump administration enact certain provisions of its Muslim ban, as well as new guidance from the Department of State on how to do so, may slam the door shut on visa lottery winners from the six majority-Muslim countries affected by the ban.
The lottery program is small — it issues just 50,000 visas a year — but it looms large abroad, where it has become a symbol of U.S. openness. By implementing the ban against visa lottery winners, the Trump administration not only thwarts their individual hopes and dreams, but also sends a message that the United States no longer stands as a beacon of hope.