For individuals waiting for a United States green card, checking the State Department’s website to see where they are in line is a routine activity. Since the wait for obtaining citizenship can be between 10 and 70 years, many of these individuals were likely happily surprised when early last month thousands of immigrants learned that they could file for the last part of the process.
This last stage is not cheap and the people who took steps to prepare could have spent between $2,000 and $5,000. In addition to pulling together the necessary documentation, many of these individuals—a large number of whom are high-skilled workers in the U.S. on H-1B work visa—likely also began to make plans to do things they could not on that visa. These plans could include traveling outside of the country or applying for a new job.
Sadly, the joy associated with the Visa Bulletin was short lived. This is because a couple of weeks later, a revised bulletin was issued by the State Department. The filing dates of up to 50,000 applicants were incorrect. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson indicated that some of the filing dates found in the bulletin were not accurate.
Unsurprisingly, many of the individuals impacted by the mistake are unhappy. Some staged a nonviolent protest by sending flowers to the Department of Homeland Security. Others have taken legal action. A class action lawsuit was filed against several individuals and federal agencies. One issue is the lack of transparency in how the green card process is managed.