Today, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State (DOS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) claiming that the plaintiffs (foreign nationals) relied upon the October Visa Bulletin, released September 9, 2015, when they began incurring costs, including medical exams, attorneys fees, time off from work and travel expenses, in order to prepare adjustment of status application filings (Form I-485) to submit to USCIS beginning on October 1 2015, only to find they may have incurred those costs in vain when the DOS issued a revised October Visa Bulletin on September 25, 2015. The revised October Visa Bulletin, published less than a week before the individuals were planning to file their applications, appears to be based on pressure by the USCIS to reduce the number of applications eligible for filing based on the new “application filing date”. It is estimated that the revision impacted no less than 1000 applicants.
The current debacle is reminiscent of the July 2007 Visa Bulletin revision, which, upon its release by the DOS on June 12, 2007, initially indicated that immigrant visa numbers were available for all employment-based categories except unskilled workers and over 10,000 applicants prepared to file for adjustment of status during July 2007. Then, on July 2, 2007, (after the July 1st effective date) the DOS issued a revision that announced that immigrant visa numbers would be unavailable for all categories until October 1, 2007. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of over 10,000 impacted applicants and on July 17 2007, DOS reversed its revision and agreed to honor the initial July visa bulletin as published on June 12, 2007.
With this is mind, it appears possible that the current lawsuit could have a similar effect and convince the DOS to discard the September 25th revisions to the October Visa Bulletin. However, what is vastly different in this case is that in 2007, applicants had already submitted their applications for adjustment of status on July 1, 2007 and checks were cashed by the government prior to the revision issued on July 2, 2007. The current revision to the October 2015 visa bulletin, albeit last minute, occurred prior to the effective date.
Impacted clients should consult with their Maggio + Kattar attorney to determine what action, if any, should be taken this time.