AILA Sues USCIS over H-1B Lottery Data

UnknownThe American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) last week filed a lawsuit against USCIS to release the specifics of how they conduct the lottery on H-1B applications every year.  From the AILA press release:


Every year, USCIS approves 65,000 cap-subject H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for candidates with advanced degrees. Every year for the past ten years, the number of applicants for these visas has exceeded the cap. When this happens, CIS initiates a lottery that utilizes a computer-generated randomized selection process to determine which petitions get reviewed and which get returned to the sender.

The H-1B lottery has always been shrouded in mystery. Despite claims of commitment to transparency, CIS has not been forthcoming with information about the mechanisms of this lottery. There is no way to hold CIS accountable for this process and possible flaws or unfairness resulting from it. There is no way to tell whether this process even holds up to statutory standards without the ability to see and review it. For this reason, a lawsuit has been brought against CIS and the US Department of Homeland Security by the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association with the purpose to seek information about the inner workings of the H-1B lottery process.

While the process for the H-1B lottery may not change, and there is certainly every indication that more, not less, applications we be filed every year, at least the lawsuit will hopefully provide a level of transparency so that those whose application is accepted through the lottery and those whose applications are not accepted in the lottery will be assured that the process was fair and open.

We will certainly update you with USCIS’ response and if there are any other developments on this case.

If you have any questions leave a comment below or send me an email.  Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

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