In consulting with thousands of DV 2020 selectees since September 30, 2020, our team has learned there is incredible demand among those who are not “named-plaintiffs” (who did not participate) in the Mohammed, Aker, Gomez, Fonjong, or Kennedy lawsuits, to be plaintiffs in their own lawsuits.
On November 16, 2020, the Gomez attorneys, who represent the entire DV 2020 class posted a blog post that clarified that “If you are a FY2020 Diversity Visa Selectee who did not receive a diversity visa on or before April 23, 2020, you are a class member in the certified Gomez class” and that “It is not necessary for you to join another lawsuit.”
We agree with both of those points. Our team is not aware of any viable legal theories that DV 2020 selectees could prevail upon in actions filed after the end of the fiscal year. Our team is going to do what we can in the existing litigation (and even in fighting the government’s cross-appeal) for our Mohammed, Fonjong and Kennedy plaintiffs. But sadly, there are only 9,095 DV numbers reserved, and there are many more than 9,095 DV selectees who want them . This is a problem for all DV 2020 selectees.
We have identified two important and actually vital unmet needs for DV 2020 selectees that we can confidently serve: (1) lobbying Congress for the 35,000 DV 2020 numbers that were not issued before Sept. 30, 2020, and (2) representation and guidance through individual consular processing procedures, should the Gomez case prevail on final judgment, or we get the visas through Congress.
That’s why we are launching the Project Voyager Program, where Project Voyager Participants both finance the lobbying effort, and benefit from our legal representation and guidance through the consular processing process.
Let me explain:
1: Lobbying Congress for the 35,000 DV 2020 numbers that were not issued before Sept. 20, 2020.
Background: From July through September, my colleague Rafael Urena and I financed a lobbying effort by Morrison Public Affairs Group (MPAG), at a cost of $25,000 to us personally, to persuade Congress “to roll over” unused 2020 DV numbers past the September 30, 2020 fiscal year deadline, so those numbers would not be lost, and 2020 DV selectees would not be cheated.
MPAG is headed by former Congressman Bruce A. Morrison, co-author of the Immigration Act of 1990, that codified the Diversity Visa Lottery Program as we know it. (Although Bruce and I share a last name, we are not related.)
MPAG is a small firm in which Bruce works for all its clients and personally supervises those who assist in the work. His practice is built on expertise, substantive credibility, good strategy, and strong relationships with all of the relevant players in immigration-related matters. He has chosen this type of practice over that of a large firm because he wants to be an effective advocate for my clients, assuring that they get the best possible results. Too many large firms use their senior members mainly to market to clients, while leaving most of the work to junior staff. When you engage MPAG, you are assured of his personal commitment to your objectives.
Through his eight years as a Member of Congress, two as chairman of the Immigration subcommittee, his service on the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (Jordan Commission), his five years as an Executive branch agency head and eighteen years of a broad lobbying practice, he has come to know and work with all the key players involved in immigration in the legislative and executive branches. Through these contacts, he can assist DV 2020 selectees in an ongoing effort to achieve their objectives, in a way no one else could.
Bruce will be assisted by Paul Donnelly, who worked on press and communications for Senator Chris Dodd from 1981 to 1986 and in Bruce’s Congressional office from 1986 to 1991. His responsibilities included substantial involvement in immigration issues when Bruce was Immigration subcommittee chairman. The late Barbara Jordan created the job of communications director for him on the Commission she chaired in the ‘90s, where his work with the media and other interested parties was essential to establishing the Commission’s solid reputation for courage and credibility. For more than a decade, Bruce and he have worked very effectively together on behalf of clients on immigration issues.
MPAG takes on only those clients for whom it has the expertise and the access to be effective. They do not take more clients than they can give the necessary time and personal attention. And they avoid conflicts that arise from representing multiple clients who are pursuing competing objectives.
Many would be surprised that we had real progress with the lobbying effort, with much support secured among individual members of Congress. Much of that progress was due to the participation of the family members and friends of our Mohammed, Fonjong, and Kennedy plaintiffs. However, due to circumstances beyond our control (Congress being unable to pass any legislation at all), our lobbying efforts were unsuccessful.
Since the presidential election, Bruce has brought to my attention that (1) there is still sympathy in Congress for the DV 2020 selectees, and (2) if we continue along the same path we have already started, there is real potential that we succeed in having those lost 2020 DV numbers reinstated.
However, lobbying is not cheap or easy. For us to engage in this plan, we need two things.
We need to raise money to finance it, and we need to enlist the friends and families of DV 2020 selectees, who have not yet been issued visas, in assisting Bruce’s team with their efforts. If we mobilize quickly, there is a possibility that we could have success in December with the existing Congress, or if not, perhaps by February or March with the new Congress.
Project Voyager participants will be both financing our lobbying efforts, and helping to enlist their friends and family to assist. This is a win-win for all.
2. Legal representation and guidance through individual consular processing procedures.
As many of you know, we try to be accessible and make ourselves available where you are. We have staff who speak and write Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and more to come. Many DV 2020 selectees have spoken directly with me on telegram, whatsapp, and twitter.
We do all this - we try to stay accessible- because we recognize DV selectees have legal representation and guidance needs that are not being adequately met. DV selectees are constantly trying to crowdsource important questions that really require legal guidance by actual attorneys.
For example - let’s say the US embassy asks you to submit a document and you do not understand what they want. Whom do you ask? What if you ask a non-attorney, and they are wrong, and you submit the wrong document?
For example, let’s say the embassy where your interview was assigned is closed for Covid-reasons, and you need your file transferred, how do you do that? These are things we understand, and we do every day.
For our Project Voyager Participants, we will undertake to assist with whatever consular processing questions or needs you have related to your DV 2020 application.
Project Voyager - Eligibility to Participate
Must be a 2020 DV selectee who has not been issued a visa.
Must not be a plaintiff in Mohammed, Fonjong, or Kennedy (as we plan to provide these services to those plaintiffs already)
Project Voyager - Pricing
We are keeping the pricing for Project Voyager participants simple: $500 per DV 2020 selectee, with spouse and child beneficiaries included at no extra costs.
A: No. Project Voyager participants are already automatically class members in the existing Gomez and consolidated cases litigation. We do not believe another lawsuit, filed after September 30, 2020, could put them in a better legal position than they are already in.
A: No. It is not necessary for you to participate. We are including these services for you as part of what we are doing for you already. However, if you would like to pitch in an extra $100 or $50, beyond what you are already contracted to pay us, to help with our lobbying efforts , that would be greatly appreciated! The payment links are below.
A: No, and no. Much like litigation, there are many factors outside of our control with lobbying for legislation, and there are no guarantees we will have a successful outcome. The only guarantee we can make is that if we do nothing, Congress will likewise do nothing, and there will be no chance they will save the 35,000 2020 DVs if we are not pushing for them to do so.
A: Not really. Members of Congress are most responsive to their constituents who reside in the U.S. That is why it will also be important for Project Voyager Participants to try to enlist U.S. family and friends to sign up to help with our lobbying efforts.
A: No. There are many more 2020 DV selectees who are part of the Gomez class, who were not issued visas before September 30, 2020 than the 35,000. Further, most of those selectees have spouses and children. Thus, even if Progress Voyager is successful, there will still be 2020 DV selectees who will not be issued visas.
A: You will benefit as we are taking on our Project Voyager participants as clients who we will represent in consular processing. It is easy to overlook how important representation in consular processing is.
For example, many of our 400+ DV 2020 plaintiffs who were issued DVs in September were only able to do so because our staff worked tirelessly to set interviews with consulates, transfer their cases to consulates that were open, assist in removing travel barriers (in one example getting special permission from the Armenian government for 10 Iranian clients to cross the land border), and solving countless other last-minute problems.
The value of this consular processing representation far exceeds the $500 cost to participate in Project Voyager. After December 7, we will adjust our staff to be able to handle representation of Project Voyager participants, and we will not be able to take anymore DV 2020 clients.
A: December 15, 2020
If you are ineligible to participate in Project Voyager, but you are able to contribute to our lobbying effort to save the 2020 DVs, your help will be appreciated.
(You can help by chipping in $50 or $100 by clicking one of the buttons below)