A federal report on immigration from Africa to the United States reveals that under the Obama administration, the diversity visa lottery exploded to 50 percent of the program’s total immigrant population – a 21-percent increase from 1995.
The statistics provided by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) show that over the past two decades, the origin of U.S. immigrants has shifted greatly under the project, with Africa surpassing all other continents – at over 50 percent of America’s total intake via the diversity visa lottery.
“In 1995, 47 percent of the program’s immigrants were from Europe and 17 percent from Asia, with fractional amounts from other locales,” WND reported. “In the most recent year for which reports are available, 2016, just 24 percent were from Europe and 31 percent from Asia.”
Equal or weighted playing field?
CSR Immigration Policy Analyst Jill Wilson said the reason behind the diversity visa lottery program turned upside-down by the Obama administration has been to give immigrants from smaller nations a better chance to immigrate to America.
“[The purpose of the program was to] provide an avenue for immigration from countries other than the major sending countries of current immigrants,” Wilson explained, according to WND.
Specific guidelines have been set for the program, which was geared to even out immigration to the U.S. coming from around the globe.
“Enacted in 1990, the program accounts for about 5 percent of all immigrants,” WND’s Bob Unruh reported. “Six global geographic regions are defined, and the law limits each country to no more than 7 percent of the total.”
According to the report, immigration trends have definitely shifted from Europe to the south and east.
“Since its inception, the geographic origins of DV (diversity visa) immigrants have shifted away from Europe toward Africa and Asia,” the CSR report titled “Diversity Immigrants’ Regions and Countries of Origin Fact Sheet” stated.
For more than a decade, Africa has led all other continents in sending immigrants to the U.S. under the program – a proportion that spiked and reached its all-time high during the beginning of former President Barack Obama’s first term.
“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,” the CSR report continued.
The rise of Asian immigrants also overtook those from Europe within the past decade.
“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,” Wilson noted.
Nations of choice
Getting more specific, a handful of nations have topped the charts in recent years when it comes to sending migrants to America.
“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,” Unruh informed from the government statistics – with each know for terrorist activity.
Obama’s legacy of opening the door for more immigrants to enter the U.S. continues today, as nearly a million illegal immigrants – mostly from Mexico – are expecting to gain U.S. citizenship under his DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.
“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,” Unruh noted.
However, Trump, who continues to push his tough-on-immigration agenda, has addressed the toll illegal immigrants have on the economy and national security – as statistics show that a large percentage of America’s criminal activity has been played out at the hands of undocumented citizens. But he vowed he would make concessions to beef up U.S. security on its southern border with Mexico via a continuous impenetrable wall.
“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,” Unruh added.
Obama vs. Trump on immigration
During his two terms as president, Obama’s foreign policy was criticized by conservatives for prioritizing the employment of foreign-born immigrants – above that of American citizens’.
“In 2016, Obama pushed forward a ‘start-up’ visa, targeted towards immigrant entrepreneurs to promote business growth and job creation in the U.S.” reported BPB, a European-based immigration organization. “Before in 2014, the Obama administration had already broadened the scope of rights of foreign workers holding a visa for temporary employment in the U.S (H1-B visa). Accordingly, they were granted more flexibility to travel back home and were afforded more allowance in changing jobs, applying for work spousal permits, and making it easier for them to obtain a green card.”
This policy worked in direct opposition to Trump’s “America First” motto that he implemented after getting situated in the Oval Office – so that the government would no longer be in the business of taking jobs out of Americans’ hands and putting them into foreigners’.
“While this is welcome news for some immigrants, critics of the H1-B visa program lament the program is being exploited by employers to hire temporary, cheap foreign labor at the expense of American job prospects and wage levels with most of the awarded visas going to outsourcing firms,” BPB’s Casey Tran explained.
A couple months after taking office, Trump attempted to turn things in the favor of hard-working American citizens striving to make a living.
“In April 2017, President Obama’s successor in office, Donald Trump, signed the Executive Order ‘Buy American and Hire American’ to address the criticism of the H1-B visa,” Tran informed. “This order would reform the H1-B visa’s existing lottery system to one that prioritized giving out visas to high-skilled, high-wage labor as President Trump had campaigned heavily to restore American jobs eliminated due to global outsourcing. His Executive Order also prioritized the awarding of federal contracts to American businesses.”
Trump took another action step a few months later to make sure that those entering the U.S. are prepared to work – and not just receive free benefits from the government.
“On August 2nd, Trump announced his support for the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act or RAISE Act – a bill proposed by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue that would decrease legal immigration by half in 10 years (through the limitation of family reunification) and establish a merit-based immigration system that favored high-skilled immigrants, similar to systems in Australia and Canada,” Tran continued. “While attracting high-skilled labor is a priority area, certain industries – such as the agricultural sector – rely on low-skilled labor heavily.”
But under the Trump administration, certain industries, such as agriculture, still depend heavily on immigrants.
“There was a jump of 36 percent for approved temporary ‘guest worker’ applications (under the H-2A visa) in 2017 from 2016, indicating farmers’ greater reliance on these workers’ labor to perform agricultural work,” Tran divulged. “In the U.S. the percentage of farm workers who are unauthorized is estimated to be 70 percent by observers, while 48 percent is reported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Workers Survey.”
But Trump has received much opposition for his effort to tackle immigration reform and keep the numbers low in order to strengthen the economy and increase national security.
“The Trump administration has continued this securitization agenda of unauthorized arrivals, focusing on the removal of unauthorized persons with criminal charges or convictions – a key element of his presidential campaign,” Tran recounted. “On February 17, 2017, there was a ‘Day without Immigrants’ in response to the Trump administration’s securitization agenda, where immigrant-owned shops were closed and immigrant workers did not go to work to show the impact of immigrants on the economy, but to also protest such securitization of unauthorized immigrants.”
Working with ICE (Immigration Control Enforcement) and local law enforcement departments, Trump has attempted to get illegal alien criminals off the streets and into prison – and ultimately back to their countries of origin through the deportation process.
“Under Executive Order 13769, the Trump administration also increased the number of enforcement and removal immigration officers, cut off federal funding of sanctuary cities, and published criminal actions committed by undocumented persons,” Tran pointed out.
Obama breaking the silence
In Obama’s first public statement after leaving office, he condemned Trump over his executive order travel ban restricting immigration that was geared to keep jihadists from entering the U.S. from Islamic terrorist hotbeds in the Middle East and Africa, which included seven nations.
But Trump was quick to respond to Obama’s criticism and nationwide protests over his ban and blamed the mainstream media for generating “fake news” concerning one of the first executive orders the new commander-in-chief signed after assuming office – insisting that it was not discriminating against Muslims, but intended to root out terrorism in the U.S.
"My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months,” Trump wrote in a statement made public on January 29, according to Politifact.com. “The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting."