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Green Card Lottery Winners Are at a Loss

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on September 07, 2017

Trump’s recent travel ban has been utilized to deny Green Cards to visa lottery winners from affected countries like Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. In July, the ACLU stood against the Trump administration’s denial of Green Cards to these U.S. Green Card lottery winners.

How the Green Card Lottery Works

On an annual basis, the U.S. randomly gives away 50,000 permanent resident visas to citizens in countries with lower immigration rates. This lottery is called the Green Card Lottery. The main benefit of winning this lottery is the avoidance of the time-consuming process of obtaining employment-based visas.

Normally, the lottery would be open to many of these nations, but Trump’s travel ban has made it impossible for winners to receive visas if they are citizens of the affected countries. The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit as a response to what they refer to as a “grossly unfair” denial.

The Issue of Expiring Visas

Green Card lottery winners are required to issue their visas by the end of the fiscal year before they expire. While the travel ban would make it difficult for visa winners to leave the country in time even if they win the lottery, the ACLU has stated that the Green Card lottery winners should still receive their visas regardless.

Many parties are opposed to the Green Card lottery and have been for a long time, resulting in many U.S. Congress members voting for bills that propose the termination of the lottery. These bills have still not passed, but Trump has recently backed a newly proposed bill that is intended to end the lottery. The new bill is also set to make changes to other US visa rules.

White House Contradiction

Many have argued that Trump’s denial of visas to Green Card lottery winners goes against the behavior his administration has displayed. White House counterterrorism advisor Sebastian Gorka has recently come under fire for supporting and being a member of multiple racist and anti-semitic groups in Hungary, while still being permitted to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

However, it appears that this controversy has had no effect on the Trump administration’s decision to deny lottery winners their visas.

It’s unclear if the Trump administration will reverse their decision at any time, but the ACLU will continue to push their lawsuit to potentially make a change.