'Sitting on Suitcases': Green Card Lottery Winners May Not Get Immigrant Visas
The chance of winning is 1: 400. Every year, 22 million people are submitted to the green card lottery. 50 thousand wins. Konstantin from Belarus became one of those lucky last year, says "Voice of America".
“We sent all the documents, perhaps, back in December. And at the beginning of February, we were told: send scanned documents, - says Konstantin. - We had everything ready, so we sent it right away. The interview was scheduled for April 16th. We have already signed up for a medical examination, literally sat on our suitcases. "
But the interview was canceled. In a similar situation was Mary from Ukraine. Her interview was due to take place in June, and the invitation did not come.
“You live for a year or a year and a half, you can't plan anything,” says Maria. - No personal life, no training, no work. Because you know that you can leave soon. Why start something here? ”
On the subject: Trump promised a 'radical change in US immigration policy'
Konstantin and Maria are the winners of the 2019 lottery. For them, interviews were supposed to take place from October 2019 to September 2020. The interview began to be canceled in April. At first, the consulates were quarantined. Then Donald Trump banned the issuance of immigrant visas for 60 days, and in June he extended the period of the decree until December 31, with the possibility of extending further if necessary.
This means that some of the lottery winners simply do not have time to get visas.
“By law, after September 30, the Department of State is no longer authorized to issue visas,” said immigration lawyer Ismail Shahtakhtinsky. - Even if the applicant has fulfilled all the conditions. This is a strict deadline that is not violated. ”
The winners of this year's lottery were more fortunate. If the decree is not extended, they will have enough time for an interview. Also, those who played the lottery from the United States did not fall under the ban. As well as those who managed to pass the interview before the closure of the consulates.
“That is, the 2019 winners who have already passed through the consulate and received a visa in their passport can go to the United States,” says the lawyer. "The decree does not prohibit them from entering the country."
The main reason for the suspension of the issuance of work visas is the unemployment rate caused by the pandemic. According to the White House, jobs must first be provided for the Americans themselves.
“We have 20 million unemployed Americans,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Research. - The unemployment rate is three times higher than before the pandemic. Therefore, there is no reason to allow large numbers of immigrants to enter the country. ”
On the subject: Who and what visas can enter the United States during a pandemic
The president has a similar opinion. He repeatedly called for closing the lottery. Human rights activists disagree with him.
“I don't think politicians understand the green card lottery program correctly,” said Ali Nurani, executive director of the National Migration Forum. “It is necessary not only to win it, but also to meet all strict criteria for the level of education and professional suitability. People who come to America on such a visa are the most qualified in their country. "
The presidential decree will be reviewed 30 days after signing. The winners of the 2019 lottery do not believe that they will make an exception. They say they no longer count on visas. But they will play the American dream in the future.
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