Class Case Over Green Card Lottery Dismissed

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge dismissed a class action from people who were told they won a chance to get a green card, only to be informed the U.S. State Department voided the results of its annual visa lottery due to a computer malfunction.



     U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she sympathized with the plaintiffs, calling the glitch in the process, “a blunder of enormous proportions, with worldwide repercussions,” that has “caused grief, frustration, disappointment, and anger around the globe.”
     However, Jackson said, she had to side with the State Department because the malfunction, which rendered the “Randomizer Program” employed by the agency, had caused the selection to favor certain applicants over others.
     The process is supposed to be a strictly random selection of “winners” from countries with low rates of emigration to the U.S.
     The plaintiffs argued that while the original results, which favored people who applied on the first two days of the submission period, were unusual, they should still be considered random because no one knew which dates were more favorable when they applied. Jackson dismissed that argument.
     “Plaintiffs’ attempts to characterize the results of the flawed process as random make a hash of the statute and defy common sense,” she wrote.
     A total of 19 million people around the world entered the lottery, and more than 22,000 were informed in May that they had been randomly selected to apply for a green card.
     In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the State Department had unfairly voided the results, which favored people who applied on the first two days of the submission period.
     They said that while the process didn’t conform to what the agency had intended, the results should still be considered random because no one knew which dates were more favorable when they applied.
     Jackson dismissed that argument.
     “Plaintiffs’ attempts to characterize the results of the flawed process as random make a hash of the statute and defy common sense,” she wrote.
     The State Department has promised to hold a redraw this summer.

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