Screen shot from "22,000 Tears" Facebook page
A post earlier this week on how the Diversity Visa Lottery Program is under fire following a computer-glitch fiasco last May has yielded, perhaps not surprisingly, some emotional comments on this website from people describing themselves as would-be winners.
Roughly 22,000 people in various countries, including some here on other visas, were informed in May that they had won the federal green card lottery, which makes up to 55,000 immigrant visas available to winners each year. Soon afterward, they learned from the U.S. State Department that there had been an error and the results would be voided. Angry would-be immigrants mounted a social media campaign that included a Facebook page called "22,000 Tears." Some filed a class action lawsuit, but it was recently dismissed and a new drawing was held.
Screen shot from "22,000 Tears" Facebook page
It has not been a good week for the non-winners of the 2012 federal green card lottery known as the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
In May, roughly 22,000 people around the world who had applied for the visa lottery operated by the U.S. State Department were notified they had won - then were quickly notified again that no, they had not, as there had been a computer error and the results would be voided. Several filed a class-action lawsuit to halt a new lottery; others mounted a social media campaign to have their results recognized.
Last week, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. A new lottery has since been held. And this Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will be marking up a bill that aims to get rid of the 20-year-old lottery program, which has long faced opposition. Yale Law School professor Peter H. Schuck condemned it last week in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece:
A post yesterday told the story of "22,000 Tears," a Facebook page set up by disappointed would-be immigrants to the United States who learned in early May that they had won immigrant visas in an annual federal lottery, then were soon informed there had been a computer error and that the lottery results would be voided.
Some 22,000 people were left in the lurch, hence the name of the Facebook group, through which some have been circulating a petition, posting protest videos and connecting from the countries they call home. Not surprisingly, the visa lottery story has made the global rounds. (I discussed it yesterday in an interview with the BBC.) And now, some readers who identify themselves as being among those whose hopes were crushed have been posting messages on this site.
Source: Visa Bulletin for May 2011, U.S. Department of State
Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions. (Source: Visa Bulletin for May 2011, U.S. Department of State)
Now that it's June, it's time for another look at the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin. Who has been waiting the longest time for an immigrant visa this month?
As is the norm, the line of people being sponsored by relatives to come to the United States legally has been inching along slowly. Like last month, those who have endured the longest wait are hopeful immigrants from the Philippines who filed their petitions back in the late 1980s.
Here's the breakdown of the top four categories who have endured the longest waits:
1) Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of more than 23 years (petitions filed May 1, 1988).
2) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of more than 19 years (petitions filed March 8, 1992)
3) Unmarried adult (21 and over) sons and daughters of U.S. legal permanent residents from Mexico, a wait of close to 19 years (petitions filed August 22, 1992)
4) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico, a wait of close to 19 years (petitions filed November 15, 1992)
Last month, when the U.S. State Department scratched the results of its 2012 green card lottery due to a computer glitch, thousands of hopeful immigrants who had thought they'd won a chance to live in the United States were crushed to learn they wouldn't be coming here after all.
So some of them took their disappointment online.
The members of a Facebook group of irked lottery winners called "22,000 Tears" have been rejoicing news that the federal government plans to investigate the visa lottery program, and have been taking some of the credit. The page is named for the roughly 22,000 people who were notified they had won the lottery before being told the results would be voided, and that they would have to enter the drawing once more.
The Facebook page was launched in protest, complete with several videos and a petition urging supporters to sign it "so the US Goverment can do something about it," as the petition page reads. After news stories of a planned investigation began appearing, members on the page today posted elated messages from their native countries: