President Donald Trump wants to end the Diversity Visa Program because that's how the suspect in New York's terror attack entered the U.S. But some Massachusetts residents who used the same program to get here hope he reconsiders.
Alex Pavluchenko is a wedding photographer on Cape Cod. The Belarus native moved his family there last year after they won a green card through the Diversity Visa Program.
"In all aspects, our lives got better," he said.
The program started in 1990. Every year, more than 10 million apply for a chance to get a green card. The U.S. only hands out 50,000 a year. They enroll online between October and November and they're notified in May if they win. They have to come from a qualifying country — one with low immigration numbers to the U.S. — and they have to have a high school degree.
Immigration attorney Greg Romanovsky says folks who win consider it a golden ticket. He says his law partner came from Romania through this program, and her husband, who's a doctor, did as well.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for people with no other chance, to come to the U.S., to contribute to society," he said.
Romanovsky says all applicants are vetted the same way other immigrants would be, very thoroughly. He points to a 76-page application they'd have to fill out, just as a starter. For Alex and his family, he says he hopes the president reconsiders, so other families like his can have a chance at the American dream.
"A lot of our friends are playing [the Diversity Visa Lottery]," he said. "It's the only chance to get here to the United States for a good life."