Hi Everyone – Apologies for not updating you earlier. I wanted to let you know about several developments.

  1. The government was given until 5 PM Pacific time to submit a reply to our motion for a Temporary Restraining Order. They met that deadline and included a declaration from Charlie Oppenheim from the Department of State. They largely focused on stating that they erred in the original bulletin and are permitted to correct their mistakes. Also, the government argued that the issuance of the Visa Bulletin early is a “courtesy” and that while the government is “sympathetic” to people who spent money, no one really suffered because these are costs that would have been spent anyway. The government also argued that if the plaintiffs prevailed, they would be unable to correct even minor typographical errors in the future. And there is a strong public interest in favor of the government here because ruling against them would force the agency to violate INA Section 245(a). You can find the government’s response to the TRO request here. Charles Oppenheim’s declaration can be found here.
  2. We do not have a date for a TRO hearing. It is likely to be early in the week though there are a variety of scenarios that could affect this so stay tuned.
  3. We have set up a Facebook page to post information about the case including news article links, links to documents to request inclusion as a class plaintiff and more.
  4. There has been a considerable amount of media coverage about the lawsuit and the impact of the State Department/USCIS decision on the Visa Bulletin. This includes articles in the New York Times, Bloomberg BNA, Law360, the Associated Press. We’ll be linking them on the Facebook page shortly.
  5. We have created a crowdfunding page to raise money to cover our costs in case we can’t recover EAJA fees. We think if everyone contributes a little bit, then this won’t be that difficult to fund. Look for information on our Facebook page shortly.
  6. We have posted on Twitter a number of requests for types of people affected by the Visa Bulletin mess. Here are the Tweets:
Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind is a partner with Siskind Susser, PC - Immigration Lawyers. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he received his law degree at the University of Chicago. He created the first immigration law web site in 1994 and the first law blog in 1997. He's written four books and currently serves on the board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He can be reached by email at gsiskind@visalaw.com.
Greg Siskind
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35 Responses to Visa Bulletin Litigation Update for October 3, 2015

  1. ckumarn says:

    thanks greg for your time,you are fighting for us.i am ready to contribute.

  2. sinu says:

    Greg Siskind – The RobinHood of Immigrants. # Respect

  3. AI says:

    Thanks Greg for the updates.
    “no one really suffered because these are costs that would have been spent anyway”- this is not true, medicals will expire after one year. we need to go for medicals again.

    ” minor typographical errors”- haa,they realized after 3 weeks – just couple of days before Oct 1st.

  4. Maddy says:

    So if someone get laid off before they file I-485 or they change Job because there is no hope of filing I-485 in near future , would government repay that money?

    • chachaf20a says:

      If you or someone you know are in that situation, you should definitely provide the details / evidence to Greg. Let’s give this case a fighting chance!

  5. Narayanan says:

    Thanks for your efforts. Waiting to contribute. Govt also says they don’t see movement based on 8-12 mths forecast. If that is correct, I-693/attorney costs go down the drain. Govt is giving mixed responses or rather confused responses.

  6. Shine says:

    Thanks Greg, we appreciate the efforts taken by you and rest of the team. I am ready to contribute.

    Couple of things:
    1) Also, the government argued that the issuance of the Visa Bulletin early is a “courtesy” and that while the government is “sympathetic” to people who spent money, no one really suffered because these are costs that would have been spent anyway.

    I agree vaccinations and documents like birth certificates fall under this category, but if some of us are unable to file within the next year, that means we need to bear following expenses again:
    a) get another medical exam done
    b) if we travel internationally or move residences – get paper work updated with attorneys
    c) get another set of photographs taken
    d) take time off work to do all of the above
    e) plus, some people have to change international travel plans relying on Sep 9 bulletin – airline ticket fees etc – this is not a cost that would have been spent anyway

    2)Qualifying dates are established in relation to cut-off dates, which are calculated based on the best information available at the time from both State Department and DHS sources. Infrequently, the information underlying the estimates of cut-off dates turns out to be incorrect; for example, the dates could be incorrect because many more individuals than expected had applied in a given visa category, which means that the cut-off dates must retrogress (move back) because demand was higher than originally estimated. Historically, when State has retrogressed cut -off dates due to the availability of visas, as a matter of policy, it has not retrogressed the corresponding qualifying dates.

    Are they saying that were a huge number of applications between Sep 9th and 25th, and that caused them to retrogress. Was there any policy document put out on how “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” determined?

  7. Maddy says:

    why would they except us to do whole paperwork and medical when we can’t even file. What are the chances of any settlement outside court? Oh-law firm proposed that may be they should keep those dates for November bulletin.

  8. Andy says:

    Why it took 2 weeks to correct the error? This is not such a small error which can go unnoticed. Why didn’t they corrected within a day or two. This is a deliberate attempt to hurt thousands of people mentally and financially. I wish there was a gauge to measure the emotional stress they had put on us. I would have sued them for billions then.

  9. ckumarn says:

    As per the response from DOS and DHS, sufficient notice to allow counsel to travel from Washington, DC, to appear in-person for the hearing.Do you think hearing will happen in next week or it will take some time?. or hearing will happen on telephone?.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a solid response from govt..
    Good luck and hanks for all your hard work !!

  11. I am not giving a dime to these crooked lawyers. Everyone knew how it was gonna play out.

  12. P R says:

    Read the response from USCIS; seems like they are not going to back off this time. I think let’s forget this as a cruel joke and move on and go back to waiting days. What is killing me is that I missed the date by 4 days. Greg- we all appreciate ur efforts; good luck!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    It took two agencies fifteen days to find a typo in a two page document and as a result they want to screw thousands of immigrants for no fault of theirs. They must be made to pay..

  14. Balu says:

    Pushing the dates back by 2 years is not a minor correction. They are making it sound like it was a minor tweak while there is more to it behind the screen. There are elements who had this moved back by 2 years (vested interest, uscis unions et al). USCIS is being xenophobic and asking for support from Federal courts

  15. ckumarn says:

    Hi Greg,

    you are the one broke news about 2nd bulletin before even publish, from your source.
    Is your source revealed abt their future plan?.

  16. Vijay says:

    My only son is in the risk of aging out because of the revision of bulletin – what more harm USCIS is expecting to cause to a family than this?

    “no one really suffered because these are costs that would have been spent anyway” – This is a misstatement. I suffered.
    I would not have spent now had this bulletin was not made available.

    Medical examination is valid only for 12 months hence when I’m actually allowed to apply it may not be valid.

    Visa bulletin is a courtesy — May be USCIS caused so much harm and not willing to correct because of this attitude.
    People wait for the bulletin , prepare to file, afraid of retrogression etc., because this bulletin can change people’s life forever, but USCIS seems to be having a casual attitude that bulletin is a courtesy and they made a typographical error

  17. Essentially what has happened here is that Mr. Oppenheim made a guess of immigrant visa availability and he made that guess public in the form of the initial Visa Bulletin published on Sept 9. Importantly, he made that guess consistent with all the other times he has made similar guesses for the QUALIFYING DATES – which became the new published dates on the visa bulletin.

    But USCIS apparently did not like his initial guess (even though they published the visa bulletin guidance the same as he did). The government’s response and Oppenheim’s declaration makes clear that they made him guess again and then they made that 2nd guess public in the form of the revised visa bulletin.

    But the first guess had already created a lot of reliance and costs in the public. I think one important thing to point out is that there were no developments between Sept 9 and Sept 25 in the underlying facts that caused the change. It was not like USCIS found 20,000 cases under the sofa cushion or something like that.

    Mr. Oppenheim is the Janet Yellen of immigration. We all hang on his every word. In Janet Yellen’s case, she may say interest rates are going up; but then the underlying facts of the economy may change and as she gets closer to the effective date she may want to adjust her estimate. But in this situation, there was absolutely no change in the underlying facts. The discussions that USCIS had with Mr. Oppenheim that occurred AFTER the publication of initial visa bulletin could have easily occurred BEFORE the publication. It was just bungling; and the bungling caused damages and harm and reliance. So, the crux of what the plaintiffs seek is barring the government from making multiple public guesses. They can do all their guessing in private and then release one finalized guess to the public.

    Like the game shows when they ask “is that your final answer?” – that’s what we need from Mr. Oppenheim.

    • chachaf20a says:

      Charles Oppenheim == Janet Yellen, that is priceless 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Dude, you have one hell of a sense of humor 🙂 All that writing about public guesses and private guesses and one finalized guess to the public. I don’t know if you worded it on purpose, but I laughed so hard reading this.

  18. Peter Rajesh says:

    Please let us know how to contribute for the funding.

  19. Rav says:

    Hi Vijay,

    Could you please provide your details with Greg.


    Vijay says:
    October 4, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    My only son is in the risk of aging out because of the revision of bulletin – what more harm USCIS is expecting to cause to a family than this?

  20. NandAsh says:

    Responsibility- Its hard to believe that the dates were result of miscalculation and it took 2 weeks to identify and rectify it. Well even if we believe, USCIS\DHS should admit responsible for their actions and fix it.Only two ways they can do this are 1. repay the losses-which i don’t see happening 2. honor the original visa bulletin dates
    Reliability – We cant rely on the visa bulletin going forward as we know USCIS\DHS are prone to making mistakes and correcting it in 2-3 weeks.
    Both R’s are are big and impacts morale.I don’t understand why this is not being looked into.

  21. sam says:

    USA given orders to kill Osama bill Laden.

    Military went to his place, and then USA authorities said there is a typo, please come back.

    While coming back, Have a dinner with him and take a selfie with him.

    Why are you risking Military life’s, with your typo’s.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Guys. There are Lobbyists behind it. In the US corruption takes place under the table behind the scenes.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Does nebody know the nov2015 bulletin predictions? Assuming this lawsuit is still pending by then?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Sign this petition. It needs around 88k more signatures. this petition is on whitehouse.gov site. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/uscis-and-dos-changed-priority-dates-categories-all-sudden-and-causing-financial-and-mental-loss

    • Sam says:

      Is there a way that we can engage our Chinese counterparts who are effected by the same reversal of dates..

  25. Srini says:

    Guys , Please spread a message to sign the petition, Look at stem opt rule was initiated so quickly by Govt after many ppl signed that petition reached maximum limit very fast ,So please take some time and spread the message to sign the petition. Also indicates our desire on the on going issue.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Any Updates on today’s hearing ?

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