Court Orders Trump Administration to Allow Diversity Visa Lottery Winners In

WASHINGTON D.C. –– Today, the U.S. District Court for the District Columbia issued a preliminary injunction to stop the Trump administration from denying immigrant visas to 2020 diversity visa winners. In its ruling, the court ordered the administration to process all 2020 diversity visa applications as quickly as possible before September 30.

The court ruled on diversity visa applications for five consolidated cases, including Gomez v. Trump, which is litigated by a civil rights coalition including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Justice Action Center (JAC) and Innovation Law Lab, with pro bono support from Mayer Brown LLP.  Diversity visas are granted to those who come from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. 

A presidential proclamation on immigration was initially signed on April 22, and was expanded in scope and extended through the end of 2020 on June 22. The ban halted virtually all immigration, and is indefinitely separating hundreds of thousands of families and throwing the business plans of companies into chaos.

With Gomez v. Trump, the civil rights coalition filed the first lawsuit challenging the entirety of the Trump administration’s immigration ban. In addition to diversity visa winners, plaintiffs include family-based visa applicants and businesses who employ temporary foreign workers.

We celebrate this victory for all diversity visa applicants, and vow to continue to fight for the rights of all immigrants.

Jesse Bless, AILA’s Director of Federal Litigation said, “Thankfully, we saved this year’s diversity visa winners, but at the same time, we know full well that our other plaintiffs and thousands of other families, employers, and individuals will irreparably suffer due to the President’s visa bans.  The President has unilaterally rewritten immigration laws in a way that does not reflect our country’s commitment to family unity and the employment of highly-skilled foreign nationals.”

Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of Justice Action Center said, “Diversity visa applicants can finally exhale today. This court decision will result in these immigrants being able to pursue their dreams in the United States, and help boost our economy. The diversity visa lottery has allowed for substantial diversification of legal immigration, especially from Africa, and we’re thankful the court is protecting that. We’re disappointed, though, that the court didn’t block the ban for our other plaintiffs who are suffering. But this isn’t over. We won’t rest until the entirety of the immigration ban is stopped.”

“Today’s ruling is an important victory in the fight to protect fundamental principles on which our Nation’s immigration system is based, including promoting diversity, creating fairness, and preventing Executive overreach in areas that Congress has already spoken,” said Nadia Dahab, Senior Litigation Attorney at Innovation Law Lab.  “But our fight continues.  This President cannot rewrite decades of Congressional judgments with the stroke of a pen, and he cannot continue to separate families to serve his xenophobic political agenda.” 

Today’s decision is online here.

More information about the lawsuit, including case filings, can be found here.


American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), founded in 1946, is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. 

Justice Action Center (JAC) is a new nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting for greater justice for immigrant communities by combining litigation and storytelling. There is tremendous unmet need in the litigation landscape for immigrant communities. JAC is committed to bringing additional litigation resources to bear to address unmet needs in currently underserved areas. There is also untapped potential in how litigation can be combined with digital strategies to empower clients and change the corrosive narrative around immigrants. 

Innovation Law Lab is a nonprofit organization that leverages advocacy, technology and law to fight for immigrant and refugee justice. By bringing technology to the fight for justice, Innovation Law Lab empowers advocates to scale their impact and provide effective representation to immigrants in detention and in hostile judicial jurisdictions across the country so that every claim that should win, does win, everywhere, every time.


Belle Woods
American Immigration Lawyers Association

Tasha Moro
Justice Action Center

Ramon Valdez
Innovation Law Lab

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