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.


Author: Adam Frank, Esquire

I am an immigration attorney with over 20 years of experience. I was graduated from Brandeis University undergrad in 1990 and then spent a year traveling around Central America. In 1991 I began attending the University of Baltimore School of Law and was graduated in 1994. I began working in Immigration Law in 1998 when I joined a small law firm and, in 2000 opened my own firm with my law partner Ed Leavy. Sadly, Ed passed away in 2011. I am still a partner in my own firm with my current partner Brendan Delaney. Our firm is Frank & Delaney Immigration Law, LLC.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: