The Santa Clara
March 1, 2018
There are times where Donald Trump’s commitment to misinformation is so flagrant that I am actually impressed. His accusations of election fraud, his allegations that Barack Obama bugged Trump Tower and his insistence that his tax plan—from which he stands to save around one billion dollars—is going to cost him a fortune are so blatantly untrue that they take a special kind of courage to perpetuate.
So when I hear the president lie time and time again about a system called the diversity visa lottery, I almost want to give him a round of applause. It takes a lot of gumption to misconstrue the nature of a policy so shamelessly.
As he promised he would on the campaign trail, Donald Trump is trying to make sweeping immigration reform as fast and as drastically as possible. To that end, he has made a point of making the diversity visa lottery one of the most contentious policies in American politics right now.
And at no point in doing so has he been honest about it.
The president would have you believe the diversity lottery system is essentially like the Powerball for lazy foreign nationals who want only to sap the life from this great nation. He suggests that foreign countries get to put their own citizens in the lottery. In an effort to weed out the stupid degenerates who do not contribute to their societies, they only nominate the stupid degenerates who do not contribute to their societies.
As he puts it, foreign countries are never sending their “best people,” and the people they do send always end up being “horrendous.”
Contrary to what the president claims, the diversity visa lottery is not a matter of countries pulling the names of their worst citizens out of a fishbowl. The program is managed by the State Department. Every year, the agency randomly awards 50,000 visas to applicants from countries with low immigration rates to the United States.
The foreign countries involved do not personally select the citizens they place in the lottery; the applicants are selfselected. In 2017, the applicant pool was roughly 17 million people.
That means less than one percent of applicants were actually awarded visas. If countries were using the program as a scheme to systematically pawn off their worst citizens and sabotage the United States, they really would not be able to get a whole lot of mileage out of it.
The president has advocated scrapping the program altogether and has referenced the vague idea of a replacement system based on “merit.” Though he has not defined the concrete stipulations of such a system, he has certainly implied immigrants admitted via the diversity lack the skills and motivation necessary to contribute to American society.
To be clear, the applicants who are ultimately awarded visas are subject to background checks, medical examinations, interviews and other security protocols before coming to the United States. They also must have at least a high school diploma or two years of work experience in one of the select number of fields approved by the State Department.
Some critics have suggested those standards are not rigorous enough to ensure diversity visa applicants are worthy or fit to live in American society. Their criticisms do not hold up, however, when you take a closer look at who is coming in through the program.
According to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, among recent immigrants ages 25 and older from 19 nations with high rates of diversity visas, “50 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher (compared to 32 percent of the overall U.S. population in 2016), 16 percent reported some college education and 12 percent had less than a high school diploma.”
If these figures are any indication, diversity visa recipients are hardly the “horrendous” immigrants that Trump would have you believe they are.
In actuality, the diversity visa lottery is a productive means of helping to diversify our population by integrating people from nations that are underrepresented amongst our general immigrant base. It is not a shifty scam that floods America with inept foreigners. Donald Trump’s carefully crafted distortion of it is just more of his brand of socially destructive, shameless misinformation.
His entire stance is a fact check away from being nullified, but he is smart enough to know his base will not have the motivation nor the interest to realize how wrong he is. That kind of backwards craftiness takes some finesse, and getting away with dishonesty this glaring on such a massive scale is an achievement in its own right.
Take a bow, Mr. President. You are successfully undermining a constructive policy by way of willfully and aggressively ignoring its actual function and results.
An act like that deserves a standing ovation. Then again, I am sure your base never stopped giving you one in the first place.
Jay Fuchs is a senior communication major.