The Immigrant Lottery Program Biased against Haiti

The U.S. State Department runs a program begun in 1995, the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DIV) program. It operates the lottery yearly, handing out permanent resident visas to countries that have delivered less than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. within a five-year period. Haiti is one of the ineligible countries, which has exceeded the limit since the inception of DIV.


If an individual is chosen in the lottery, more requirements must be met, including a high school diploma or GED, and completion of a two-year vocational program.

Haiti has several strikes against it to become eligible for the DIV program. Foremost is the government of Haiti (GOH), which does not cooperate with the international community to lift Haitians out of poverty. An astonishing 70% of the populace lives well below the poverty line, and 80% of the 10 million population is illiterate. What fuels the illiteracy rate is the lack of a free education system. The GOH has a $2 billion initiative to make free education a reality, but it is not a high priority.

The reasons Haiti exceeds the 50,000 limit are simple. Haitian immigrants are seeking a better standard of living and more job opportunities than they can get in Haiti.

Haiti should be further along in its recovery efforts, but between the international community, who meddles in Haiti's internal affairs, and contracts going to foreign companies instead of domestic ones, the island is stuck in an endless cycle of poverty and exploitation.

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