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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Class Action Filed Over Lottery Fiasco

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Can't say I blame these folks. The State Department notified 22,000 people that they won the lottery and then said a computer glitch messed up the results. Not sure if the suit is a winner or not, but DOS deserves to have to defend itself after such a collosal screw up.

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  1. gg's Avatar

    from dos website:

    US. law requires that Diversity Immigrant visas be made available through a strictly random process. A computer programming error resulted in a selection that was not truly random.Since the computer programming error caused an outcome that was not random, the outcome did not meet the requirements of the law, and would have been unfair to many DV entrants.

    i think this class action lawsuit is a winner if the plaintiff can prove dos has used the same computer program to decide winners in previous years.
  2. George Chell's Avatar
    Dont think he ever liked immigrants.
  3. Jack's Avatar
    "I feel so betrayed."

    Why? It was accidental. That guy who wrote about the error in the NYT didn't act like the U.S. was being disloyal to him.


    Kenneth White, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, said the decision constitutes a "broken commitment."

    The U.S. is obligated to violate it's own law? They may have a grievance, but where's the legal cause of action? It's based entirely on luck. It's not like something was earned and then unfairly taken away. In a nutshell, it's an unfortunate situation but analogous to receiving a refund check from the IRS in error and then claiming to have a right to keep the cash because you thought you really had the money coming.


    "Redoing the results will not only cost the American taxpayer, he said, but it will also harm the U.S. image abroad."

    You could just as easily say that allowing this lottery to stand harms our image because it would deny slots from others who were not given the chance they had under law. It's actually unfair to them, not these litigants. I'm amazed open border people aren't calling for letting the results stand AND having a new lottery since they always want more immigration/less enforcement and don't care what the rules say anyway.
  4. gg's Avatar
    According to Dos website, they fixed a bug in the program that was used to randomly select winners. Now if the same program was used to select winners in previous years without the fix thy will need to cancel all those green cards.

    No doubt something smells fishy. My rough guess is someone at Dos was interested to give free green cards to some people who unfortunately didn't get selected in the first. Historcaly speaking this lottery was set up by ted kennedy to give free green cards to irish people for the first 10yrs and notoriously known for open discriminating people from several nations
  5. Another Voice's Avatar
    I can understand the frustration of these folks, they thought they were in and now they are not. However not sure if there is a legal remedy for them, I am going to guess that there is not one....
  6. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Since the computer programming error caused an outcome that was not random, the outcome did not meet the requirements of the law, and would have been unfair to many DV entrants."

    The flip side of that within the same line of thinking is precisely that.... it was not random as required by law. Therefore voiding the faulting results is valid, because it would be unfair to the other participants. Apparently only the people that entered the first day were considered. They would establish a bad precedent by even allowing the lawsuit to go forward.
  7. Paul E's Avatar
    Actually the DoS states they didn't know about the "computer glitch" a week after announcing the results, hence nobody knew there was a problem and nobody could take unfair advantage of the glitch. People had the chance to apply on any given day of the application period without knowing that the first 2 days would be luckier than the rest, so for all intents and purposes it WAS a random selection (maybe not uniform, but still random).

    If you want to argue that there was an observable pattern here, you should know that computer-generated random numbers are never truly random like when you throw a dice, for example. Computers employ pseudo-random number generators which are initialized with a seed value, and they will always produce the same sequence of numbers if given the same seed value (after all, it is a deterministic algorithm). So just because you didn't see a pattern in previous years, doesn't mean the algorithm was more random before.

    The true randomness can come from the fact that people send in their applications at different times, they don't know when these applications will go to the database and what sequence number they'll get, etc. (The web server processes hundreds of application requests in a period of a few seconds, so they get in a roughly random order depending on how they'll travel on the network. A classical example is: You go out and drive from San Francisco to L.A. and get there in 6 hours and 34 min today. Somebody else does the same and gets in 6 hours and 22 min, depending on traffic conditions, etc. The next day you repeat the experiment. For all intents and purposes, the number of minutes and seconds it took you to get there is random because you can never predict it.)

    So, to sum up, I think they do have a pretty strong case.
  8. F's Avatar
    Good for them , I guess they are already assimilated Filing a Class action lawsuit
  9. JoeF's Avatar
    @gg: "Historcaly speaking this lottery was set up by ted kennedy to give free green cards to irish people for the first 10yrs and notoriously known for open discriminating people from several nations"

    Actually, gg, not quite true. In the early years of the lottery, 5000 of the DV numbers were reserved for Ireland. The others were available in the lottery. I know because I applied for DV in the early 90ies, and this 5K for the Irish stood out so much that I remember it to this day.
  10. gg's Avatar

    'Actually, gg, not quite true. In the early years of the lottery, 5000 of the DV numbers were reserved for Ireland. The others were available in the lottery. I know because I applied for DV in the early 90ies, and this 5K for the Irish stood out so much that I remember it to this day."

    End the stupid, discriminatory, and fraud-prone diversity immigrant green card visa lottery!

    May 20, 2011
    By Jan C. Ting



    The U.S. State Department announced this week that it had made a mistake in awarding 22,000 immigrant visas to winners of an annual visa lottery, and that the lottery would in fact have to be done over again. In fact, the whole visa lottery system should be scrapped because it's discriminatory, because it's susceptible to fraud, and because it's stupid.

    The so-called diversity visa lottery was created in 1990 at the behest of Senator Ted Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee which oversees U.S. immigration law. Senator Kennedy had a problem in Massachusetts of a large number of illegal immigrants from Ireland whom he wanted to legalize. But how to do that given that they lacked the family connections or job skills required under the regular legal immigration system?

    The solution was a visa give-away, or lottery. But how to insure that the Irish illegal immigrants would win the lottery? Let's first disqualify all the countries with the largest numbers of would-be immigrants who might otherwise enter the lottery. So let's disqualify Mexico. No Mexicans need apply. Let's disqualify China, India, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines. None of their nationals can apply either.

    Then let's skew the lottery against those remaining countries with the largest numbers of otherwise qualifying immigrants, giving them the smallest number of lottery winners. The resulting formula gives the largest number of lottery winners to those countries with the smallest numbers of qualifying immigrants, like Ireland, in the name of "diversity".

    And finally, to insure that lottery visas end up in the hands of Irish people, let's specify that thousands of lottery visas in the first few years can be awarded only to citizens of Ireland and nobody else. That should do it.

    And so the illegal Irish immigrants of Massachusetts all got diversity visas, and the problem of illegal immigration from Ireland disappeared (though it has recently recurred as a result of the economic crisis). But the diversity visa lottery lives on, awarding 50,000 prized immigrant visas on a discriminatory basis every year in an on-line lottery run by the U.S. Department of State.

    Is it constitutional to discriminate against immigrants on the basis of nationality? Apparently it is constitutionally O.K. to disqualify Mexicans, Chinese, Indians, Haitians, Dominicans, and Filipinos, among others because the Supreme Court ruled in 1889 that federal power to regulate immigration pre-dates the U.S. Constitution, and is therefore not subject to constitutional standards or requirements. But that doesn't make it good policy or fair policy.

    The visa lottery conducted now electronically through on-line application is highly susceptible to fraud with applicants applying multiple times with slight variations in name and identity, transferring winning entries among themselves, and using the now high-quality counterfeit documents to claim visas. I testified to a Congressional subcommittee against the visa lottery back in 2004, primarily on the basis of its discrimination. But other panelists who testified with me addressed the widespread problem of fraud in the visa lottery.

    The diversity visa lottery was conceived for narrow political reasons, is discriminatory, and prone to fraud. It should be abolished, and those 50,000 visas made available to qualified immigrants of all nationalities now waiting in long lines for their chance to legally immigrate, some of whom have been waiting for 20 years or more
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