The State department on May 1 announced the results of its annual giveaway of 50,000 green cards to people from countries with relatively low levels of immigration to the United States. The winners are randomly selected by the computer. However the 22,000 people who were declared winners of the lottery on the State Department's lottery website were later informed that the results were cancelled as there was an error which caused the computer to select 90 percent of the winners from the first two days of applications instead of selecting from the entire 30-day registration period. The State Department decided to hold a redraw. The results will be announced on Friday July 11, state department spokeswoman told reporters.
The initial elation experienced over the announcement of the results soon gave way to dejection and the winners were devastated when told about the computer glitch which caused the results to be annulled. A group of enraged 'winners' filed a lawsuit claiming that the government recognize the original results.
In the court hearing earlier this week, the plaintiff's lawyer argued that the selection was indeed 'random' and as the 'winners' had no idea that they would be at an advantage by applying within the first two days. However the State Department argued that the results didn't represent a fair, random selection.
Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson empathized with the people whose hopes had been dashed but sided with the State Department in arguing that the results had to be voided because a computer problem had caused the selection to favor certain applicants over others.
The green card lottery was launched in 1990 to promote diversity in the immigration population and offers a quick path to legal permanent residency in the U.S. the number of entries to the lottery has been on the rise with a record of 15 million people applying this year.