Dan Baum in The New Yorker:
The official name of the program known as the Green Card Lottery in Peru—and in a hundred and seventy-six other countries—is the Diversity Visa Program. Of the more than two hundred visa types provided by the State Department, it is by far the oddest. While the vast majority of immigrant visas still go to people who suffer persecution or possess strictly prescribed qualifications—relatives already in the U.S., strategic skills, or great wealth—the only requirement for winning the Green Card Lottery, other than good fortune, is a high-school education or two years’ experience in one of three hundred and fifty-three career categories ranging from anthropologist to housepainter to poet-and-lyricist. Fifty thousand diversity visas are made available each year; almost six million people applied to the program in 2005. Its future, however, is uncertain. Last month, the House of Representatives passed a border enforcement and immigration bill that included an amendment to abolish the Green Card Lottery. The Senate will consider that bill later this year.