Photo by John Wardell (Netinho)/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Last week, a computer glitch dashed the hopes of tens of thousands of immigrants who had hoped to come legally to the United States - and put one of the quirkier programs within the U.S. immigration system on the map.
It's called the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, a U.S. State Department program often referred to simply as "the visa lottery." The congressionally-mandated program makes up to 55,000 immigrant visas available each year to people who apply for them via random selection, with results selected electronically. It was announced late last week that the results of the 2012 lottery would have to be scratched because of a computer programming error.
"The results were not valid because they did not represent a fair, random selection of entrants, as required by U.S. law," read an announcement on the State Department website. "If you checked this website during the first week in May and found a notice that you had been selected for further processing or a notice that you had not been selected, that notice has been rescinded and is no longer valid."