For millions, a life in the U.S. comes down to playing the lottery | KUOW News and Information

For millions, a life in the U.S. comes down to playing the lottery

May 3, 2017

Kim Malcolm talks with reporter Amber Jamieson about the green card lottery, which gives out 50,000 green cards each year through a lottery system. Jamieson, who's Australian, has entered the green card lottery for the past six years.

On the slim chances of winning:

"It really depends on what country you're from, because they're allocated by your country of birth. Countries that already have high immigration to the U.S. like China, Mexico, India, and the U.K. cannot enter. Australians have a 5 percent chance of winning because not that many people apply. In comparison, in Ghana, over 1 million people entered this year. So there's a much smaller chance that someone from Ghana would win the lottery."

On the lottery's political fate:

"There are two different bills trying to get rid of it: one in the House and one in the Senate. Now, some Democrats are saying they're willing to get rid of the green card lottery because it's a bargaining chip when it comes to immigration policy, and they'd much rather protect dreamers. With the changes we've seen from Donald Trump and his immigration policy, there's a very good chance this might be the last green card lottery that's held."

On her own chances of winning:

"This year, because I've worked on this story and interviewed people who've won it before, I actually have some optimism. I dropped the optimism about three years ago after not winning several times. I know a lot of Australians who have won over the years. But like every kind of lottery, you just have no idea if your name will get drawn out of the hat or not."

Update: after this interview aired, Jamieson tweeted, "sigh, sixth time running, not selected for the green card lottery."