Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After 'Painful' Blunder, Green Card Lottery Results Released Today

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After 'Painful' Blunder, Green Card Lottery Results Released Today

Article excerpt

Results of the State Department's green card lottery were originally announced May 1, but those results were invalidated because of a computer glitch. The results of a new green card lottery were posted Friday.

The 22,316 people who believed they had won the US State Department's green card lottery - the global lottery that drew 19 million applicants seeking the right to immigrate to the US permanently - on Thursday lost an appeal to have the results of that lottery stand.

On May 19, the State Department announced that a computer glitch had made the results from the lottery invalid, and that a second would need to be held. The results of that second lottery, the State Department says, were posted to the website Friday.

For those who won the invalidated lottery, the news was devastating. Nearly 2 million applicants had already visited the results website by the time the error was discovered and the website taken down on May 5, and about one-fourth of the selected had learned of their selection.

Thirty-six individuals representing the "22,000 hopefuls" had filed a federal lawsuit urging the State Department to not void the lottery results. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit spoke of sharing the news with their children, quitting their jobs, selling land for money to immigrate, and marrying a loved one to make him or her eligible for immigration.

But a federal judge dismissed the case on Thursday, backing the State Department's claim that the lottery results were not truly randomized, as the process mandates.

"The Court cannot order the Department of State to honor a botched process that did not satisfy that regulatory and statutory requirements" of randomization, wrote US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a 35-page ruling.

The department identified that 98 percent of the more than 22,000 selected had submitted their entries within the first two days of the application period in October 2010. The Department said this was the result of a computer glitch in a new randomizer program, which selected the winners in the order that they submitted their entries.

"There are 19 million more stories, from other lottery participants, many of which may be equally or even more compelling, and it is for that reason that Congress determined that every applicant would have an equal chance of winning the right to apply for the visa," Judge Jackson wrote. …

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