Green Card Winners Lose Appeal-Computer Glitch

Green Card Winners Lose Appeal-Computer Glitch
Green Card Winners Lose Appeal-Computer Glitch

A US federal Judge dismissed an appeal by about 22,316 people who believed they had won the lottery visa commonly known as Green Card that was later disqualified because of an alleged computer glitch.

The last US State Department’s green card, the international lottery attracted approximately 19 million applicants hoping they would win and therefore have the right to immigrate and settle in the US permanently.

In the latest entries, at 4,689, (Those the State Department has notified as having won) Kenya has the seventh highest number of winners picked among African countries. Last year, however, the country had the fifth largest number of winners.

The number of winners represents a modest increase over last year, in which 4,619 were picked. Ghana has, for the third consecutive year, maintained the highest number of winners, with 6,002, followed by Nigeria 6,000.

A total of 100,600 applicants from various countries in the world had been registered and notified to apply for an immigrant visa at the various US

embassies. But only 50,000 visas are available for this period despite the number of those notified.

The “green card”, also referred to as a permanent resident card, is an identification document affirming a foreigner’s residency status in the US.

On May 19, the State Department announced that a computer glitch had made the results from the lottery invalid, and that a second would need to be held. The results of that second lottery, the State Department says, were posted to the website Friday.

For those who won the invalidated lottery, the news was devastating. Nearly 2 million applicants had already visited the results website by the time the error was discovered and the website taken down on May 5, and about one-fourth of the selected had learned of their selection.

Thirty-six individuals representing the 22,000 hopefuls had filed a federal lawsuit urging the State Department to not void the lottery results. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit spoke of sharing the news with their children, quitting their jobs, selling land for money to immigrate, and marrying a loved one to make him or her eligible for immigration.

But a federal judge dismissed the case, backing the State Department’s claim that the lottery results were not truly randomized, as the process mandates.

“The Court cannot order the Department of State to honor a botched process that did not satisfy that regulatory and statutory requirements” of randomization, wrote US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a 35-page ruling.

The department identified that 98 percent of the more than 22,000 selected had submitted their entries within the first two days of the application period in October 2010. The Department said this was the result of a computer glitch in a new randomizer program, which selected the winners in the order that they submitted their entries.

“There are 19 million more stories, from other lottery participants, many of which may be equally or even more compelling, and it is for that reason that Congress determined that every applicant would have an equal chance of winning the right to apply for the visa,” Judge Jackson wrote.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs, White and Associates based in Los Angeles, California, released a statement Friday criticizing the ruling:

“The end result is that the American government has lost credibility – promising 22,000 individuals the right to proceed with the immigration process and then snatching away that hope and promise.

The State Department may have won in court, but it has lost the hearts and minds of 22,000 individuals from all around the world.”

In the ruling, Jackson offers sympathy for “emotional impact” and “painful and real” experiences caused by the reversal of the lottery results.

“This is a highly coveted prize, as winners may ultimately qualify for US citizenship, and it provides a means of applying for a visa that does not depend upon sponsorship by an employer or a relative,” Jackson writes.

To qualify for a visa through the Diversity Visa Program Lottery, a person must have a high school diploma or equivalent, or two years of recent work experience that required two years of training or experience. The diversity visa is available to natives of countries with low-US immigrant numbers.



Click here to apply for Green Card


Green Card Winners Lose Appeal-Computer Glitch

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