Judge’s order throws many American Visa lottery winners out of luck

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San Diego: A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to save more than 9,000 US slots for Visa lottery winners affected by the government’s freeze on green cards earlier this year. But tens of thousands of other visa lottery winners will be out of luck.
US District Court Judge Amit Mehta admitted that his order would mean only about half of the so-called diversity visas issued each year. He said in his decision that he lent leniency to the State Department because of the coronovirus epidemic.
Mehta had rejected a request from lawyers to save 30,000 slots for the lottery winners, but they were not removed yet. With about 15,400 visas issued so far in the 2020 fiscal year ended on Wednesday, the additional 30,000 sought by advocates for lottery winners would have brought it closer to the annual average of 47,404 over the past 18 years.
The judge said that the effect of COVID-19 on the processing capacity of the State Department should be taken into account, saving it to order a total of 9,095 slots.
Mehta wrote in his judgment, “The problem with the plaintiff’s proposed number is that it asks the court to treat FY2020 as if it were an average year.” The COVID-19 epidemic caused the State Department worldwide Has created disruption in the operation of consular and visa processing operations. ”
The United States provides 55,000 visas a year to immigrants, whose nationalities are represented in the US population.
The winners are randomly selected from a pool of approximately 14 million applicants, are given green cards that will let them stay in the United States permanently.
But the winners must veto and must have a visa by September 30 of the year they have chosen or they will lose.
This year, the State Department issued more than 12,000 visas for the 2020 lottery, when in April, President Donald Trump extended a freeze on several green cards issued outside the United States, including a lottery visa. .
On 4 September, Mehta ordered the State Department to issue visas before the 30 September deadline, partially reversing the freeze.
On Wednesday, the judge ordered the State Department to place the 9,095 winning visa lottery numbers ahead of the deadline so that they could be held pending a final decision.
Rafael Urena, representing more than 1,000 Visa Lottery winners, said the order sends a lifeline to the group.
“The diversity visa program is the United States’ silver lining for the world for 30 years,” he said. “It was a tragedy to see it disbanded illegally by the Trump administration. Today’s order has led many litigants to hope that the American dream continues.”
US Department of Justice Thomas York did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press and requested comment about Wednesday’s order.
The administration said it stopped issuing green cards to free jobs in the coronaires-wrecked economy – a reason why the president made several uses of legal immigration cuts that eliminated him before the epidemic. The freeze also applies to people receiving temporary work visas in high-tech companies, summer camps and multinational corporations.
Trump has long sought to remove the diversified visa lottery, calling it “the worst of the worst.”
Mehta, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, made it clear in his September 4 decision that he disagreed with Trump’s characters.
“Diversity visa lottery winners are those who have come to this nation like millions, to seek a better life for themselves and their families, and to advance the American Dream,” he wrote. “They do not deserve to be caricatured as common criminals, or to be used as a political mosaic issue.”
The US government runs the program, and the citizens of eligible countries are those who decide to bid for the visa. Foreign governments do not choose who applies or eventually obtains a visa.
Applicants must graduate from high school or have two years of experience in the selection of fields identified by the US Department of Labor. Winners may not have a criminal record, and must have an American sponsor and be able to support them until ready. More than 80,000 applicants were made winners, so they had to race against each other to provide visas.

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