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Federal judge dismisses Diversity Visa lawsuit

A federal judge Thursday threw out a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of people who were told they had won a chance to obtain a United States green card only to learn later that the Diversity Visa lottery was invalidated because of a computer glitch. Florida immigration attorneys are aware that U.S. immigration law offers a variety of avenues to permanent residency in the United States.

Many visa options exist in the areas of business and employment immigration visas. There are also a number of options for immigrants who are related to an American citizen to apply for a family or fiancée visa in the United States. In 1994, federal law established the Diversity Visa lottery as a method to increase the number of immigrants from developing nations and countries that historically have posted low emigration rates to the United States.

Nearly 15 million people submitted applications to the Diversity Visa program between October 5 and November 3, 2010 hoping to win a chance to apply for a green card. A computer program was supposed to pick roughly 90,000 names from the applicant pool.

A glitch in the program caused the computer to pick about 90 percent of this year's visa lottery winners from applications submitted within the first two days of the application period. Upon learning of the glitch, the State Department threw out the lottery results as invalid, even though a number of purported winners received notification of the chance of obtaining a green card.

A 42-year-old native of France, who now lives in Florida tells the Associated Press the judge's decision to dismiss a class action lawsuit "makes the injustice even bigger and it's just a sense that there is nobody who hears us and whatever the government wants to do with us they can do and there is nothing we can do about it." The Florida resident hoped to obtain her green card through the lottery instead of through other avenues, such as employment or family based U.S. visas.

The State Department says the results of a new Diversity Visa drawing should be made available Friday.

Source: AP via Fox News, "Challenge to visa lottery dismissed by judge," 15 Jul 2011

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