What Is the Difference between the Green Card Lottery and STEM?

In the past year there has been a great amount of discussion about changing immigration policy in the United States from both major political parties in the United States.

One topic that came up from the Republican side of Congress was what is now casually called the STEM bill. If this bill were to be implemented, though, it would effectively end the Green Card Lottery.

The Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery, or Diversity Visa Program, is an immigration program made available through the Department of State.

The general idea behind this program is that people should be allowed to enter the United States even if they don’t necessarily qualify for one of the more traditional immigration purposes.

What is meant by traditional immigration is that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services allow people to immigrate to America generally based on whether one of the below conditions is true:

  • An immigrant has a particular set of skills that are needed in the United States and they can better serve the economy by getting a job in the States.
  • An immigrant has family in the United States and they wish to immigrate to be closer to them.
  • An immigrant’s home country, or current country of origin, is so oppressive (religious, political or otherwise) that they wish to claim asylum in the United States.

However, this current system of immigration creates a somewhat lopsided sample of world cultures and nationalities immigrating to America. Often, skilled technicians come from one part of the world, asylees from another part of the world, and family members from another.

The Green Card Lottery allows immigrants who do not come from these particular areas of the world a chance to immigrate to the United States as well.

The Green Card Lottery is supported by the Democratic delegation in Congress.


STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and, in a larger sense, stands for those fields of study and research that are viewed as being particularly invaluable in the United States.

America prides itself on being what is called a meritocracy (a society that places value on the things that one can do instead of their social caste or other inherited social feature) and that informs the popularity of the STEM bill.

For a long time, immigrants who have studied in American universities have been told to go back to their home countries after they have finished their studies because there is no visa to help them adjust status to permanent resident.

Republicans have begun to think that this is a waste of capital. American universities operate with a lot of government money and to simply send graduates away after four years of study just seems like a waste. It would be much more beneficial for all involved to help these students become Americans after they have graduated.

Because of the high value that is placed on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, students who are particularly good at these fields should be granted some sort of residency status to help the United States economy.

Green Card Lottery and STEM Discussion

Democrats in the United States are very approving of both programs because one promotes cultural diversity and the other values meritorious immigration and actions that would surely bolster the American economy.

However, Republicans are much more concerned with the apparent merit of a particular immigration program. In their eyes, the Green Card Lottery has no merit. They are also possibly afraid of the program because they think that immigrants who are not sponsored by a job or by family will eventually end up in the United States welfare system.

Both immigration programs have their benefits and drawbacks and the United States congress is currently mulling them over, though the issue of the large number of undocumented immigrants in the United States seems to be a more pressing matter at the moment, according to some Senators.