WASHINGTON - A federal court in Washington has dismissed a lawsuit brought by citizens of more than 20 countries who were mistakenly informed they won a special visa lottery program to enter the U.S.
Reacting to the dismissal, attorneys for the plaintiffs said Friday that the State Department may have won in court, but has lost the hearts and minds of 22,000 individuals from around the world, according to a report from Voice of America.
Those suing the State Department were among 22,000 people who were told in May that they had been selected as finalists in the 2012 diversity immigrant visa lottery. But the State Department said a computer error meant the selection process would have to be conducted again.
The glitch had caused the overwhelming number of winning selections to be chosen from people who registered on the first two days of the month-long registration period , instead of randomly from the entire pool of 15 million applicants.
The would-be immigrants' attorneys said the U.S. government broke a written commitment when it decided to restart the selection process. They said the plaintiffs made plans for their lives and employment based on the information they had received.
The winners of the new drawing are being announced on Friday.
The diversity visa lottery was established by Congress in 1994 to increase the number of immigrants coming to the country from developing states and other countries with traditionally low rates of immigration to the United States.
At least 90,000 applications are selected each year, with finalists then eligible to apply for a total of 50,000 available visas. They are screened for certain qualifications, including education and work experience.