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Major bulletin error leads to confusion for 50,000 immigrants

Any person who is in the U.S. on a visa or is waiting to come to the U.S. for a job or to reconnect with non-immediate relatives checks monthly bulletins published on the State Department's website regularly. These bulletins include information on priority dates and let people know when they are able to either submit an application for a visa to come to the U.S. or change their status to a lawful permanent resident.

The bulletins kick-off the last step of obtaining a green card. This means a status adjustment and greater flexibility and protections for people who become permanent residents. However, a recent mix-up in the September bulletin led to thousands of immigrants confused about whether they can proceed with the process or not.

Reports indicate that the monthly bulletin notified thousands of people that their priority date was current and they could proceed with the immigration process. However, the bulletin was evidently wrong and was updated over two weeks later.

During those weeks, reports indicate that about 50,000 applications were filed by people who would ultimately be told they are actually not eligible to apply because the visa availability information was wrong.

So where does this leave all those applicants? The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have not exactly been forthcoming with help or solutions for people affected by the error. Instead, they simply issued a revised bulletin at the end of September stating that the earlier information was inaccurate.

Since then, immigrants have been peacefully protesting the mistake and inadequate resolution by sending flowers to the Secretary of Homeland Security with a note encouraging him to address the serious oversight in a manner that does not unfairly penalize immigrants who did nothing wrong.

It will be interesting to see if anything comes from the protest efforts. But in the meantime, it can be crucial for anyone who may have been affected by the mistake to discuss the situation and their options with an attorney to avoid any additional hiccups or delays.

Source: CNN Money, "Immigrants protest with flowers after green card mixup," Sara Ashley O'Brien, Oct. 5, 2015

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