Judge Mehta has issued a ruling on the various cases. It’s an 85 page long document, and will need interpretation by the lawyers, but here are the main highlights.
He has not blocked the bans outright, but has given some help to some people affected by the bans.
He did NOT rule to extend the DV2020 processing period, but has set another review of that for September 25th. There is some language that hints that named plaintiffs would be treated more generously than non named plaintiffs.
He has said that named plaintiffs on the various cases should be prioritized for processing by September 30, 2020.
He has ordered that the embassies/KCC cannot arbitrarily stop working or not treat DV cases as emergencies. That will help some people who need their visas re-issued.
Judge Mehta recognized the particularly unfair treatment and its impacts on DV cases. So for that reason he has been more sympathetic on DV cases than non DV cases.
Here is the order itself. Its 85 pages long and the lawyers will need some time to properly summarize who can be helped by the order.
Q&A from me based on my current understanding.
VI. CONCLUSION AND ORDER
For the reasons set forth above, the court concludes that the Plaintiffs are not likely to
succeed on their challenges to the Proclamations. Plaintiffs, however, are likely to succeed on
their claims that (1) Defendants’ No-Visa Policy is not in accordance with law, is in excess of
statutory authority, and is arbitrary and capricious; (2) Defendants have unreasonably delayed
processing DV-2020 Plaintiffs’ visa applications; and (3) Defendants’ COVID-19 Guidance
arbitrarily excludes DV-2020 visa applications from the categories of applications eligible for
mission critical and emergency services. The court additionally finds that the DV-2020 Plaintiffs
have met the equitable requirements for injunctive relief, but the Non-DV Plaintiffs have not. The
court therefore orders the following pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 705 and the court’s traditional equitable
- The court preliminarily stays the No-Visa Policy as applied to DV-2020 selectees and
their derivative beneficiaries. Defendants26 may not interpret or apply the
Proclamations in any way that forecloses or prohibits embassy personnel, consular
officers, or any administrative processing center (such as the Kentucky Consular
Center) from processing, reviewing, or adjudicating a 2020 diversity visa or derivative
beneficiary application or issuing or reissuing a 2020 diversity or derivative beneficiary
visa based on the entry restrictions contained in the Proclamations. Except as provided
in paragraphs 2 and 3 below, this order does not prevent any embassy personnel,
consular officer, or administrative processing center from prioritizing the processing,
adjudication, or issuance of visas based on resource constraints, limitations due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, or country conditions;
- Defendants shall undertake good-faith efforts, directly and through their designees, to
expeditiously process and adjudicate DV-2020 diversity visa and derivative beneficiary
applications and issue or reissue diversity and derivative beneficiary visas to eligible
applicants by September 30, 2020, giving priority to the named diversity visa Plaintiffs
in Gomez, Aker, Mohammed, and Fonjong and their derivative beneficiaries;
- The court preliminarily enjoins Defendants from interpreting and applying the COVID
Guidance to DV-2020 selectees and their derivative beneficiaries in any way that
requires embassy personnel, consular officers, or administrative processing centers
(such as the Kentucky Consular Center) to refuse processing, reviewing, adjudicating
2020 diversity visa applications or issuing or reissuing diversity visas on the ground
that the DV-2020 selectee or derivative beneficiary does not qualify under the
“emergency” or “mission critical” exceptions to the COVID Guidance;
- At this time, the court declines Plaintiffs’ request to order Defendants to reserve
unprocessed DV-2020 visas past the September 30 deadline or until a final adjudication
on the merits, but will revisit the issue closer to the deadline. Accordingly, the court
orders the State Department to report, by not later than September 25, 2020, which of
the named DV-2020 Plaintiffs in this action have received diversity visas, the status of
processing of the named DV-2020 Plaintiffs’ applications who have not yet received
visas, and the number of unprocessed DV-2020 visa applications and unused diversity
visas remaining for Fiscal Year 2020.
- The Aker and Gomez Plaintiffs’ motions for class certifications as to DV-2020 selectees
are denied without prejudice, subject to final resolution on the merits of Plaintiffs’
challenges to the Proclamations.
- The court defers ruling on the Gomez Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification with
respect to the four putative subclasses representing Non-DV Plaintiffs, as the named Plaintiffs representing these putative subclasses have not demonstrated entitlement to preliminary injunctive relief.
- Plaintiffs’ requests for the court to preliminarily enjoin Defendants from implementing
or enforcing Proclamations 10014 and 10052 against Plaintiffs are denied.