Friday, May 09, 2008

Where do "diversity immigrants" come from?

In an unsettling Parapundit post on Yemen's freeing of those involved in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, Brent Lane points out that 70 Yemenis have been "registered" and now qualify for permanent residency visas through this year's Diversity Visa Lottery. The DVL is a program that grants legal residency "to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States". Annually, 50,000 visas are granted.

Randall Parker notes the inanity of accepting more Yemenis than Finns into the US:

Seventy Yemenis won US visas through our mind bogglingly foolish diversity lottery. So did 4392 Egyptians. Wonder if any of Mohammed Atta's relatives or friends were among the lucky winners. More Yemenis than Finns came up winners. Can someone explain how this isn't just an incredibly stupid idea for a policy?
I certainly cannot.

The DVL is our most conspicuously idiotic immigration policy, and that's saying a lot. The fewer non-refugee (refugees and asylum seekers do not count 'against' a country in terms of the number of potential diversity visas its citizens are eligible for) immigrants a country has sent to the US over the past five years, the better chance each of its applicants has of winning permanent residency through the DVL. Nearly twice as many applicants are notified they've been "registered" as will actually be granted permanent residency. This is in anticipation that many who are selected will fail to complete their application processes by the end of September, won't receive their snailmail notifications* for a variety of reasons, or will not meet the qualifications for a visa grant.

How stupid an idea for a policy is the DVL? The application process does require a bit more industriousness than following coyotes across the Southern border does. It's not a completely unfettered process.

Applicants must have either graduated from high school or attained an educational equivalent, or have two years of work experience in an occupation that requires as many years of training and/or experience to perform. I wonder how rigorous the educational verification for the more than one thousand people selected from the Sierra Leone really is?

Also, the applications must be submitted electronically, which presumes access to the internet (although agents may act on an applicant's behalf at the applicant's expense, and based on the existence of for-profit services in the US assisting potential applicants, there are surely similar services in operation at the sending end in many countries). The application requirements are fairly detailed ("Photographs of individuals wearing head coverings or hats are only acceptable if related to his/her religious beliefs, and even then, may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant,"), probably weeding out the least literate who are acting without assistance.

Besides these modest proxies for general competence, however, the lottery is a random process. It is almost the polar opposite of a merit immigration system that selects newcomers based on how they are perceived to benefit the receiving country.

Of the 6.4 million eligible applicants, 96,691 have been registered and now have five months to get everything squared away if they are to become one of the 50,000 who make the 'final cut' (it's not first-come first-served during this time frame--each individual chosen at random receives a number from 1 to 96,691, and the lowest 50,000 who complete all the steps are granted permanent residency in October).

So where do these "diversity immigrants" (really, that's what they're officially called) come from? Here's a visual representation, via Many Eyes, by country of origin. (If anyone is aware of a better application to use for visualizations, please let me know. Many Eyes is quick and easy, but it's too limiting. Most countries send fewer than 1,000 people through the DVL, but the graph doesn't distinguish between those who send a handful and those who send several hundreds).

The percentage breakdown by area of origin for the 96,691 potential residents:

Islamic world37.63%
Latin America1.91%
North America***0.02%

The Islamic world includes nations where the majority of the population is Muslim. The other continental regions include registered applicants from all non-Islamic majority countries on those respective continents (thus Asia does not include Iran, Afghanistan, etc).

Nigeria, which received the greatest number of registrations, is split equally between the Islamic world and Africa. Half its population is Muslim. If Nigeria is instead counted as part of the Islamic world, the African percentage drops to 30.27% and the Islamic percentage rises to 42.17%. If it is counted as African, the African percentage rises to 39.34% and the Islamic percentage declines to 33.10%.

The European contingent disproportionately comes from Eastern Europe. Only one-fifth of registered applicants from the Old Continent actually hail from Western Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland^, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland). Thus, Western Europeans comprise less than 4% of the total registered applicant pool. As a majority of US citizens trace their ancestries to Western Europe, this makes perfect sense!

Who is the DVL giving us? Presuming these potential immigrants are representative of the countries they come from^^, the weighted average IQ, as estimated at the national level by Lynn and Vanhanen in IQ and Global Inequality, of registered applicants is 79.9^^^, on par with Guatemala and Bhutan. That would put the middling diversity immigrant at about the 36th percentile among blacks, or the 9th percentile among non-Hispanic whites in terms of IQ.

The weighted average Human Development Index (HDI) score~ for the registered applicants' countries of origin is .628, on par with Equatorial Guinea and India. The (apparently unweighted) world average is .743. The US gets a .951. A .999 is the best score attainable. The HDI is comprised of three factors: Life expectancy, education levels, and purchasing power parity.

Even without considering cultural friction and incompatibilities (did we mention that roughly one-in-three of these registered applicants are Muslim?), this is foolish. The Diversity Visa Lottery program should be abolished. Both the House and the Senate voted to strip funding for the DVL in '07, but amendments to the final bill, quietly signed into law by President Bush on December 26th of last year when no one was watching, negated these funding cuts.

Tell your representatives that you don't just want funding cut, you want the entire monstrosity axed. Easily find and contact them here.

The Excel data, including registered applicants by individual country, is available here.

* Curiously, applications must be submitted electronically, but the notices of registration the US government sends out to potential new residents are only distributed via snailmail.

** Israel, from which 150 registered applicants come, is included in the European total. It's not very satisfying, but the other potential classifications--the Islamic world and Asia--are both even less so.

*** The Bahamas exclusively. Neither Canadians nor Mexicans are eligible to participate in the DVL.

^ My judgment call. Only 59 of the nearly 100,000 registered applicants are from Finland, so the classification is negligible one way or the other.

^^ Historically, they tend to be above average, especially those from Europe and Asia, at least in terms of reported educational attainment.

^^^ China's IQ is used for Macau. Serbia's IQ is used for Montenegro. Papua New Guinea's IQ is used for Nauru. Four-fifth's weight is given to Papau New Guinea's IQ and one-fifth's weight is given to China to estimate Palau's IQ. Equal weights are given to Morocco's and Mauritania's IQs to estimate Western Sahara's average IQ.

~ France's HDI is used for French Polynesia, French Guinea, and Martinique. The Netherlands' HDI is used for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. I calculated the HDI using CIA factbook figures for Afghanistan, Iraq, Kiribati, Liberia, Macau, Monaco, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, Serbia, and Somalia, as UN figures for these countries were either dated or non-existent. Instead of giving a two-thirds weight to literacy and a one-third weight to combined gross enrollment ratio for the "education" portion of the HDI, I simply gave full weight to the literacy rate.


Anonymous said...

I'm in a southern state and town where Catholic charities is sponsoring Somalis. They receive refugee assistance and their children attend public schools. To say the least, the children don't offer much hope for an emerging generation. It's insane to let these people into the US where at best they can offer manual labor that is already being supplied by illegal Mexicans. This is either the madness of altruism, the intended mongrolization of America, or plain insanity. Maybe all of the above.

Audacious Epigone said...


CC does this throughout the country. My family is heavily involved in the organization. There is no concept of self-sustainability at any administrative level. It is a constant source of frustration for my dad, who literally built the only profitable (not sustained by cash donations) department of CC in my state.

Randall Parker put it well recently in saying that many liberal beliefs contradict one another. It might also be said that liberal means lead to illiberal ends when the target of those liberal means are themselves illiberal (or incapable of liberalism). It is sad to see altruistic aspirations lead to such abjection.

Anonymous said...

"Tell your representatives that you don't just want funding cut, you want the entire monstrosity axed. Easily find and contact them here.


Needless to say, I agree wholeheartedly with you. But don't be naive, telling representatives anything doesn't mean a thing. As you yourself point out, Presidents are capable of loads of mischief: "President Bush on December 26th of last year when no one was watching, negated these funding cuts."

Is there any reason to believe that either McCain, Obama or Hillary would get rid of this lunacy? None whatever

America is in deep shit, and it's political system is an example of that. Call it insanity, call it whatever you will, the country is on the road to ruin.

al fin said...

Obama would certainly open the gates to "diversity immigrants". Not sure about Clinton or McCain.

It's not constructive to whine about how America is on the road to ruin, "j." Always look to solutions. That's one difference between constructive and destructive people.

Of course, not all solutions lie with the government. In fact, I'd say that at this point, very few genuine solutions are likely to come from the government.

It's time for people who pay a lot of money so that other people can suck at the government teat begin to get creative.

Audacious Epigone said...


I understand your sentiment, and I do not expect any of the three potential candidates to do anything to it without resistance, but keep in mind that majorities in both the House and the Senate voted to defund the DVL. Dennis Moore, a bluedog Democrat and my Congressional rep, has been a leading critic of the system.

And speaking of solutions, Al Fin's blog is a great place to keep yourself up to snuff on those budding solutions and the industrious minds behind them.

Anonymous said...

Al Fin, (and by extension, AE),

I agree that what I said wasn't constructive but I disagree that it was a "whine". I think that the statement that the US is on the road to ruin is a simple statement of fact. I specifically responded to AE's exhortation that we should contact our representatives. Apart from the fact that my representatives are complete open borders proponents, it will do no good.

"Always look to solutions."

OK, name one. A realistic one.

"Of course, not all solutions lie with the government. "

Unfortunately, open borders does.

"It's time for people who pay a lot of money so that other people can suck at the government teat begin to get creative."

This is horribly naive. I work for a very rich man. He pays a lot of money. Guess what? He employs illegal aliens. He's an open borders proponent.

Don't insult me, Al Fin. I work in the real world, for real fat cats. They hate your guts. All they care about is money. Call that a whine, call it what you will. That's reality.

Overlord said...

"OK, name one. A realistic one."

How about thinking of ways to get low IQ legal immigrants to renounce either their green cards or citizenship (through peaceful measures).

How about:

1) Paying low IQ legals to leave (Steve Sailer has discussed this option for Europe, but, Sailer really, really, really needs to discuss this idea more as it relates to US immigrants).

2) Improve Mexico's economy so legal Mexican immigrants leave.

3) Further reduce all forms of welfare that does not go to seniors.

4) No welfare benefits for women with children who have not been legally married at least a year.

al fin said...

Hatred is an emotion not much indulged in by extremely successful people. It is a waste of energy, which is better spent in becoming even more successful.

I realize that creativity is difficult for people not used to the discipline, but unfortunately it is becoming necessary. We are paying the government to screw us, which makes achieving our goals that much harder.

It is not my intent to insult anyone. I certainly do not hate your guts, j.

Anonymous said...

"I certainly do not hate your guts, j."

Happy to hear it, Al Fin.

Now let's hear that constructive solution you have to the open borders lobby.

And by the way, I did misspeak. My boss doesn't hate his inferiors as much as he despises them. That's the way it works.

Now, again, let's hear your solutions.

al fin said...

What I may allow myself to think about, and what I allow myself to publish--even in innocent blog comments--are two different things.

And if you do not understand that a person who despises his inferiors has very deep problems himself, then you need a little more seasoning in the pan.

A.E. has a very nice blog and provides a good service to his readers. But it is not his job (or mine) to hold anyone's hand.

Audacious Epigone said...

Because immigration control is essentially a law enforcement function, presuming the US is a desirable destination in the eyes of Hispanic immigrants, government action does play a major role. Labor-saving innovations do reduce desirability of serf labor on this side of the border, though.

In addition to Overlord's suggestions, how about a national consumption tax in place of the federal income tax structure? Remove the perverse advantage illegal workers enjoy by being able to net the same amount of money while charging ~20% less for their services (through income tax avoidance) and instead give the native laborer a built-in advantage of his own through the prebate that will put him up by $200-$600 per month from the get-go.

Anonymous said...

Al fin,

I still haven't heard your creative solutions to our immigration mess, so I'll conclude that you are a phony who just likes to pretend to be creative. You have no ideas.

And your dime-store psychoanalysis is worthless - not even worth a dime.


"Because immigration control is essentially a law enforcement function, presuming the US is a desirable destination in the eyes of Hispanic immigrants, government action does play a major role."

Wrong. We've got all the laws on the books, but we don't enforce them. IT'S A CULTURAL PROBLEM. We don't have the balls to enforce our own laws.

Your national consumption tax is a dream. Dream on. A country that doesn't respect its own laws is damned to hell.

I enjoy your data-crunching though.

Anonymous said...

Well in most major US cities a Canadian or a Finn would actually contribute A LOT to diversity.

Audacious Epigone said...


Heh, can't disagree there!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how you only see one side of the issue.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.