Winning this Lottery Really Is the American Dream

Posted November 2, 2010 in Immigration by Arthur Buono

Everyone knows the lottery is a bad bet. The odds of winning make what math geeks call your expected return far less than the one or two dollars you pay to play. But we still play, because winning the jackpot’s like having the American Dream. Well there’s another lottery where the jackpot really is the American Dream. It’s the State Department’s Diversity Visa Lottery, and it’s the first step on the path to citizenship for 50,000 lucky winners every year.

  • Diversity Visa Lottery admits underrepresented foreign immigrants to US
  • Four winners in every thousand applicants beats Powerball jackpot odds
  • Election Day a big event for new citizens
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People Are Dying to Vote, Now’s Your Chance

It’s fitting to consider this American Dream on Election Day. For new US citizens it may be the first chance they’ve ever had to vote. Don’t be surprised today to see them exercising their rights. You might know them by their solemn excitement. A colleague witnessed this when voting early last week. There in the clerk’s office, an ethnic Hmong from Laos cast his first vote. He wore a suit, and his entire family came too. The clerk’s staff were just as proud and excited as the voter and his family.

A lot is made of immigration in this country. People are literally dying to come here. This isn’t something new. Two immigrants fleeing religious persecution in their home country were among the first to lose their lives for the dream. They were among the 102 persons who set sail from Plymouth, England, in September, 1620. They were aboard the Mayflower. They were pilgrims.

Every year about 12 million people apply for the visa lottery. Fifty thousand very lucky people in or outside the country will get what those pilgrims sought. They’ll be from countries with some of the lowest rates of legal immigration to the US. They’ll be white, brown, and black, just like us. But you may know them when you go to vote today, by their clothes, and their families.

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