May, 17, 2013, Louisville, KY- The green card is a stepping stone to citizenship for an overwhelming majority of legal immigrants. Many are fortunate enough to have highly-sought after skills or family members who are U.S. citizens, but there is a small group that depends a green card lottery that is in danger of being eliminated if immigration reform passes.

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The green card lottery is small program that most Americans are unaware of, but people in some countries watch as closely as we would watch results of “American Idol.”  The program was intended to give people from countries that have lower levels of immigration an opportunity to immigrate to the U.S. Each year the U.S. awards 55,000 of these visas to randomly chosen individuals out of a pool of 8 million applications.

The greed card lottery is in jeopardy of being eliminated in current immigration reform talks in favor of visas for highly-skilled workers. There are however lawmakers who are fighting to keep the diversity lottery visa.

The lawmakers believe that the diversity lottery is one of the only ways for people who are not highly-skilled or those who aren’t related to U.S. citizens have the opportunity to legally immigrate to the U.S.

According to the Washington Post, some lawmakers look at the diversity visa lottery as an inexpensive tool of goodwill towards other countries, though other lawmakers say the program is vulnerable to fraud and believe it has outlived its usefulness.

“Diversity visas are one of the few ways people from Africa and the Caribbean can come to this country,” Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) said in an interview, according to the Washington Post. “We are talking about creating a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people, and I wholeheartedly support that. But why do we need to cut a program where millions of people are competing for only 55,000 visas? I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept that.”

Another change that will affect a smaller, yet important group of people is a change to the asylum rules, agreed upon following the Boston Marathon bombing. Senators decided if an immigrant under asylum protection returns to their native country without a legitimate reason they will lose that status and not be allowed to return.

Immigrants can expect big changes if immigration reform is passed. Those changes will affect every aspect of the immigration from visas to deportation. The current system is confusing enough for an immigrant and will only get more difficult to navigate once the law changes go into effect.

Many people want to come to America to learn, work and live, but getting into the country legally can be quite a challenge. Louisville immigration attorney Rusty O’Brien is there to assist you with any immigration matter.

Rusty O’Brien will take all your immigration concerns seriously and work aggressively to make sure your immigration needs are met. Regardless of the whether you need a deportation defense, or need a visa, Mr. O’Brien will be by your side.

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