Every year, 50,000 people enter the U.S. on diversity visa that is decided by a visa lottery system. The applicants come from countries with historically low rates of immigration
to the U.S. During Trump’s presidency, the Muslim ban barred many people from Muslim-majority and African countries from entering the U.S., even if they were among the lucky ones to get chosen by the lottery.
Although the Biden administration lifted the travel ban and reversed many of the decisions that affected these countries allowing people who’s visas were denied to reapply, those who were not allowed entry on diversity visa were not included.
While the new decisions offer some level of relief to people who were denied entry previously, it doesn’t provide any relief to those who won the lottery and had their hopes up for a better living. Many of those applicants were eagerly watching the elections because it would determine their visa status. They hoped that when Biden came to office, justice would be served. These people lawfully applied for their visa as they spent money, invested time and effort into applying while gathering all the paper work and going through intensive interviews. And after all that work they were still denied because of a ban imposed on Muslim- majority countries, which is racist in it’s core and defies the concept of this visa “diversity.”
Many immigration attorneys have provided reasons for their clients as to why they applications have been denied. Here is an example of one attorney’s publishing on the matter. Some reasons include not having a passport from your country when you apply, failing to list your spouse or your children on your application, submitting more than one lottery application in the same registration period, and submitting an invalid photograph.
This decision threatens to forever prevent thousands of Black and Brown immigrants who meet all of the legal requirements to immigrate to the United States from doing so, perpetuating the effects of the discriminatory ban.
So now what will happen now? Will they ever have the opportunity to process their applications and become citizens of the United States? There are so many questions left unanswered.
The ACLU calls the new administration’s neglect of the thousands of people who were selected to receive “diversity visas,” but then denied, a disgrace. ACLU attorney Manar Waheed said, “This decision threatens to forever prevent thousands of Black and Brown immigrants who meet all of the legal requirements to immigrate to the United States from doing so, perpetuating the effects of the discriminatory ban.”
Are you or one of your loved ones in a situation now where you are in limbo? Share with us your story.