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Many 2020 DV Lottery Winners have a big problem. Because of the actions of the State Department and the President, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 DV Lottery Winners are at risk of not obtaining visas prior to the September 30, 2020 deadline.
To remedy this tragedy for clients who choose to participate, Curtis Morrison and Rafael Urena, through the Law Office of Rafael Urena, will be filing a mandamus case in federal court. Here is an overview of the case:
DEFENDANTS: DONALD J. TRUMP, MICHAEL R. POMPEO
DEADLINE TO PARTICIPATE: JULY 1, 2020
FILING DATE: JULY 8, 2020
THE CASE WILL HAVE THREE CAUSES OF ACTION:
1) The government has unreasonably delayed processing visa applications for 2020 DV Lottery winners.
The law: Pursuant to the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 555(b), a government agency has a nondiscretionary duty “to conclude a matter presented to it” “within a reasonable time.” Pursuant to the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 706(1), a court may compel a government agency action “unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed.”
2) President Trump’s “Presidential Proclamation 10014, Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak” AND PP 10052 "Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak" - both arbitrarily sought to prevent the issuance of visas to 2020 DV Lottery winners.
The law: The APA prohibits federal agency action that is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” or is conducted “without observance of procedure required by law.” 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A) and (D).
3) Mandamus is a judicial writ issued as a command from the court ordering a government agency to perform a statutory duty. Here, the government has a non-discretionary duty to adjudicate the visa applications for 2020 DV Lottery Winner prior to the September 30 deadline.
The law: When there are no other adequate remedies available to Plaintiffs, mandamus is appropriate. See 5 U.S.C. § 704.
Further, two cases have been brought in the past that had successful outcomes for DV lottery winner participants. In a case filed in 2017 in the District of Columbia, the court ordered the government to set aside visas to be issued beyond September 30. In a case filed in 2019 in the Eastern District of California, many DV lottery winner participants were issued visas prior to September 30, presumably so the government could avoid the consequences of litigation.
It is important to remember the goal of federal mandamus litigation is not to win at trial or even to get a judge’s order that is favorable, but to get visas issued as quickly as possible. Usually in mandamus actions, this happens even before the court hearing, but there are no guarantees. We continue fighting aggressively until all case participants have decisions on their visa applications.
1) The client understands that there are no guarantees as to the outcome of litigation.
2) The client understands that the government will never disclose when a visa is approved or waiver adjudicated due to the efforts of attorneys. If client’s visa is issued prior to the filing of the action (lawsuit), then no fees will be due to attorneys. If visa is issued AFTER the lawsuit is filed, attorney fees become due. This includes when visas are issued or waivers are approved immediately after filing of the case, as well as when clients have to wait longer for visas or waivers .
3) The client understands that participating in a lawsuit means public disclosure of private facts. For example, a Google search of your name could bring up the case.
4) There will be multiple participants in the lawsuit, and attorneys will need to prioritize the interests of the whole.
5) Attorneys do not have professional liability insurance. (California state law requires this disclosure.)
$2,000 per DV Lottery winner, payable as $1,000 to start, and $1,000 final payment when visa is issued. (If no visa is issued, the final payment is waived.)
For each additional participant in a family, whether it be a spouse or child derivative, the fee would increase by $500 per participant, only payable as visas are issued to additional participants.
For example, if a woman wins the DV lottery and her husband and one child are derivative applicants, the total fee would be $3,000, payable as: $1,000 up front, and $1,000 when visa is issued to primary visa applicant, and $500 when visa is issued to spouse, and $500 when visa is issued to child.
Q1: Can participating the case result in a negative outcome? Could the President and the Secretary of State retaliate against participants?
Answer: In the US, the government does not retaliate against individuals, and if it did, the court could come to the rescue. Retaliation is against the law. Also, practically, the people who work for the government implementing the president’s anti-immigrant policies do not agree with them. They do not mind when we sue, and in fact, welcome it. We have declarations from 3 consular officers we have used in our past litigation.
Q2: Will only people who join, benefit in case it rules in favor of DV winners?
Answer: If a case is brought as a “class action,” and it is successful, it could have the potential to help all that are suffering the wrong that is challenged. However, it is difficult to get a case “certified” as a class action, and in the immigration context, those kind of cases are primarily brought by non-profit advocacy organizations.
This will not be a class action case, but a joinder case- with multiple participants. Our goal will be 100% focused to getting visas issued for the participants in the case that hire us.
Q3: If the Presidential Proclamation 10014 is not extended beyond June 22, 2020, will the case still be filed?
Answer: Absolutely. Whether the order is extended or not, there is not doubt the order caused a bottleneck and backlog that could result in 2020 DV Lottery winners not receiving visa decisions prior to September 30, 2020.
Q4: What is the relevant case law (precedent cases)?
Answer: There are three cases that matter most. Click here to see dockets and relevant judge's orders in those cases.
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