Green Card Lottery Faces Axe Diversity program expected to be cut in overhaul By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted May 13, 2013 2:48 AM CDT 16 comments Comments The program offers US residency to 55,000 winners and their families every year. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – The green card lottery program that attracted nearly 8 million applicants for 55,000 visas last year is expected to be cut amid the immigration overhaul, the Washington Post finds. The program, aimed at diversifying the pool of immigrants to the US, has been wildly popular since it began in the early '90s but its visa slots will now probably be shifted to the program awarding visas based on skills and education. Lawmakers say the program has drifted from its early goals—and become a target for scam artists—but its defenders argue that it only involves a small proportion of legal immigration, and is one of the few ways African immigrants can make it to the US legally. "In my country, whole cities wait to hear the results of this lottery. I can’t believe they would take it away," says an Ethiopian lottery winner who now works as a limousine driver in Virginia. "We may not earn a lot, but on $200 a month, your whole family can survive back home."