There is a very interesting article in this week's The New Yorker on the State Department’s Green Card lottery and, consequently, the elusive search for the American dream.
The lottery began—in the name of diversity—as a way to bring more white people to America. It was, so to speak, a correction to a correction to a correction. The earliest immigration laws, from the late eighteen-eighties, favored Northern Europeans. In 1965, at the height of the civil-rights movement, Congress changed the laws to favor relatives of American citizens or permanent residents, regardless of origin, and Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans began arriving in record numbers, while European immigration plummeted. The shift alarmed many members of Congress, who argued for legislation that would, in the words of Senator Alfonse D’Amato, relieve the “painful, and even tragic problems for Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, and others without immediate family members in the United States.” The Lottery