[This is reposted from our new lawsuit Facebook page]
What’s been accomplished so far?
With your help, a small team of lawyers was able to come together and get the information we needed—including nearly 1,000 litigation surveys, emails, and declarations—in order to file a federal class action complaint in the Western District of Washington less than 12 business hours after the government announced its revision to the Visa Bulletin on Friday, September 25, 2015. With a wide array of highly skilled and seriously harmed class representatives from across the country, we brought suit against the State Department and the Department of Homeland in federal district court on Monday, September 28. Two days later, we added the International Medical Graduate Task Force as an organizational plaintiff in an Amended Complaint, and we moved the Court for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). Your help made all this possible, and we could not have done it without you.
There is some confusion regarding the TRO and we wanted to clear this up. The lawsuit is seeking the September 25th version of the Visa Bulletin to be disregarded and for the original one to be reinstated.
In our TRO, however, we asked the Court for a very limited type of relief. Specifically, we asked that USCIS be ordered to accept (rather than reject) adjustment applications submitted in reliance on the original Visa Bulletin. That’s all. Nothing more.
The government was given until 5:00 p.m. pacific time on Friday to respond and did so just under the deadline. As a result, for the first time, we have the government’s sworn, official, public explanation for #VisaGate2015.
We believe this forced revelation—something that would not have occurred without our suit—may well mark the beginning of the end of the Revised Visa Bulletin. That is because the government is eventually going to have to back its words up with actual numbers, i.e., numbers on visa demand, cut-off dates, and perhaps most important, what specific change occurred between September 9 and September 25 that required filing dates to retrogress. Based on calculations by advisors and attorneys well-versed in the calculations that produce the visa bulletin, it is our educated suspicion that DHS’s numbers, once provided, won’t add up.
But getting those numbers, and holding the government accountable, may take time. Over the weekend, you ensured that regardless of how long it takes, we will have the funds necessary to cover our costs and expenses (not legal fees). In an unprecedented show of your collective economic strength, you crowd-funded our legal costs to the tune of $25,000 in just over 14 hours. We are unaware of any legal crowdfunding effort that has experienced similar success.
We are still awaiting word from the Court on whether and when a hearing on our Motion for TRO will occur. We will share that information as soon as we have it. Regardless of when the TRO hearing occurs or what the Court decides we are still asking those whose lives are going to be immediately affected in serious ways this week or next week to contact us at VisaGate2015Legal@gmail.com. We will do our best to present those cases to the government and seek immediate intervention where possible.
Over the coming days, we plan to seek an order from the Court allowing this case to proceed as a class action. This will permit us to ensure that any future relief we get from the government or the Court benefits everyone affected, not just the named Plaintiffs.
In addition, we’ll be pressing hard to obtain additional information from the government that sheds more light on the calculations leading to the Visa Bulletin revision. Put simply, we’d like the government to show its work, and we don’t think that’s an unreasonable request, given its tacit admission to the incredibly costly and painful miscalculation it’s already made.
Finally, as with any litigation, the outcome is never guaranteed. The parties will fight hard, and the process may take time. While we cannot promise that we will prevail, what we can assure you is that we will battle tirelessly and with all of the tools at our disposal to lift up the thousands of voices we’ve heard from so far, and the tens of thousands who suffer out there silently, and say to the government without fear or doubt: What you’ve done is wrong, and you must fix it. Soon.
What Can I Do?
1. Sign the White House petition – https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/uscis-and-dos-changed-pr…
2. Fill out our litigation survey – http://survey.constantcontact.com/…/a07ebn5y84fifa6vksc/a01…
3. Call your member of Congress
4. Ask your boss to do the same
5. Tell a friend about what’s happening
6. As we put out requests for information or help reaching certain types of people, please pass around and help us quickly get the requested information
7. Tell reporters who haven’t yet covered the story and email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header “media volunteer” if you’re available to talk to reporters about what this news has meant to you.
What Media has There Been About the Case?
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