WASHINGTON — A lawsuit has been filed against the State Department alleging it unfairly denied 22,000 would-be legal immigrants the right to permanent residency in the United States, their lawyers said Monday.
White and Associates said it filed the lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Colombia charging the State Department committed a “blunder” in holding a lottery granting them the permanent resident “green card.”
In a statement, the firm alleged that the State Department had informed the lottery “winners” that in fact they had to be disqualified because a “computer glitch” meant they had not been randomly selected, as required by Congress.
However, the firm insists the process was indeed random.
State Department officials were not immediately available for comment about the class action lawsuit which the firm said names plaintiffs from more than 20 countries.
These are Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
“In this case, our government has let these individuals down,” the firm’s Kenneth White was quoted as saying.
“They have broken a public and written commitment to 22,000 friends of America,” he said.
“Real people have had their dreams unfairly shattered, and as a result, the public image of the United States as a fair and honorable country has been damaged around the world,” White charged.
The “green card” visa grants immigrants the right to permanent residency in the United States and puts them on track to becoming US citizens.
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