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:
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.