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Chicago-based United Africa Organization hopeful immigrants file motion for preliminary injunction against Biden administration

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Former US vice president, Joe Biden announces he is running for president in 2020.

On Sunday, attorneys for Chicago-based United Africa Organization and 4,663 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery applicants filed a motion for preliminary injunctionagainst the Biden Administration in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Plaintiffs are asking for preliminary relief based upon the unlawfulness of two State Department policies implemented within the last six months designed to limit the issuance of Diversity Visas: the recalibration rule and the interview rule.

The recalibration rule was created with the November 2021 cable to all embassies from Secretary Blinken announcing that nonimmigrant visas would be prioritized. That had the subject line “Recalibration of Consular Services Prioritization at Posts Abroad.”

Read Also: United Africa Organization and 5,315 hopeful immigrants sue Biden administration

The interview rule was created in February 2022 through a change in the foreign affairs manual. Before the interview rule, interviews were to be scheduledBEFORE a case numbers become current in the visa bulletin. After the interview rule, interviews are to be scheduled ¨AROUND THE TIME¨ case numbers become current in the visa bulletin. This small change has had a huge impact on the scheduling of DV interviews.

Plaintiffs argue that both the Recalibration Rule and the Interview Rule are unlawful legislative rules. Legislative rules must go through notice and comment rule-making because they create new obligations, rights, and duties that bear the force of law.

Since Plaintiffs filed the motion, attorneys for the Biden administration have emailed Plaintiffs’ attorneys to let them know the administration will be asking the court for permission to consolidate their response to the preliminary injunction with a motion to dismiss that would serve as their responsive pleading. Plaintiffs have already informed the Biden administration attorneys that they will oppose that motion.

The Biden administration shall file an answering brief to Plaintiffs´ motion within 14 days. Immigrant plaintiffs all entered the FY-2022 lottery in late 2020 and were selected in May 2021 from a pool of millions of entries through a computer-generated random drawing. They should each be eligible 55,000 visas that should be issued in FY-2022 (between October 1, 2021 and September 20, 2022). Immigrant plaintiffs followed the rules and submitted their applications. They made plans to build a new life in America. Yet, the Biden administration, still beholden to the restrictive immigration philosophy adopted during the Trump administration, created unlawful barriers that stand in their way.

Modernly, the Diversity Visa lottery program is responsible for the largest percentage of African and Black immigration to the United States. Yet, according to the CATO Institute, Africans Face Steepest Decline in Immigrant Visas under Biden. About 69% of UAO v Biden plaintiffs reside in Africa.

Fasika Alem, Programs Director of United African Organization, said:

“The administration’s decision to make the DV lottery program a low priority for visa issuances is decreasing African immigration to the U.S, and that outcome is not consistent with the country’s values.”

Alexandra George, co-counsel for Plaintiffs, said:
President Biden campaigned on promises to support the DV lottery, but the administration’s own policies are the biggest hurdle for African winners. These broken promises harm thousands of real people and tarnish Biden’s legacy.”

Read Also: Biden appoints first Black woman, openly gay person as press secretary

Jana Al-Akhras, co-counsel for Plaintiffs, said:

“The DV Program, its selectees, and its recipients are a vital aspect of our country’s immigration process — the importance of which cannot be overstated. The Biden Administration’s attempt to undermine this program harms our nation and runs contrary to the express will of Congress. We urge the Biden Administration to consider the harm that incurs as a result of their deprioritzation of these very worthy applicants.”

Case #: NDIL: 1:22-cv-02599
Judge: the Honorable Edmond E. Chang United Africa Organization is a dynamic coalition of African community-based organizations that promotes social and economic justice, civic participation, and empowerment of African immigrants and refugees in Illinois.

Immigrant plaintiffs are 4,663 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery applicants (2,429 selectees and their 2,234 spouses and children), who are natives of 81 different countries. See: https://morrisonurena.sharepoint.com/:b:/s/CaseFiles/EWAlypJH_7NDnZXT_fvr2ZgBH8dfxupvJNAajr_78Hk6FQ?e=R08ky5

Counsel for Plaintiffs include Alexandra George, Jana Al-Akhras, Jonathan Aftalion, Chuck Guo, Curtis Lee Morrison, and Rafael Urena, with the Morrison Urena, L.C., and Abadir Barre of Barre Law, LLC.
Counsel for the Biden Administration include Elizabeth I. Tracy and Craig A. Oswald with the U.S. Attorneys Office, and Michelle M. Ramus with U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, OIL-DCS.
To arrange for interview with United African Organization, contact:
Fasika Alem, 312-949-9980, fasika.alem@uniteafricans.org
For additional comment from counsel, contact:
Rafael Urena (703) 989-4424, rafael@morrisonurena.com.
To arrange for interviews with plaintiffs from all over the world, contact:
Curtis Morrison (714) 661-3446, curtis@morrisonurena.com.
For comment from Department of State: CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov.
To find out more about this lawsuit, visit: https://morrisonurena.com/uao-v-biden.
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