On Visas, Senate Bill Clears Family Backlog, But Closes Diversity Door

The Gang of Eight immigration bill will cut whole categories of visas for siblings and will do away with the Diversity Lottery that many African immigrants rely on.

By Seth Freed Wessler Apr 17, 2013

***[For updates as we work through the bill’s details, follow our What’s in the Bill tag.](http://colorlines.com/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/colorlne/managed-mt/mt-search.cgi?blog_id=2&tag=What%20Is%20In%20The%20Bill&limit=20)*** There’s been a lot of talk about what the immigration bill does to change existing pathways for legal immigration. Everyone in the political universe seems to agree that the country needs an expansion of visas for "high-skilled" immigrants–people with degrees in science and technology fields. Even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wants more of those visas. But Republicans often argue that in order to make space, Congress will need to cut other legal immigration routes. They usually go after two targets for the cuts: family-based visas and the Diversity Lottery program. They appear to have won. The Senate bill makes cuts in both of those categories. The changes will strike a blow to many families and to geographic equity in who can immigrate.