ACLU: Would-be im­mi­grants who won lot­tery in Iran, Ye­men de­nied.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN

The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union said Tues­day that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has be­gun deny­ing visas to would-be im­mi­grants from Iran and Ye­men who won the an­nual U.S. visa lot­tery, but who are now snared in Pres­i­dent Trump’s travel ban.

The ACLU said it wasn’t chal­leng­ing the travel ban, but said lot­tery win­ners should still get the visas — even if they can­not ac­tu­ally travel to the U.S. deny­ing them visas is “grossly un­fair,” the ACLU said in a law­suit filed in fed­eral dis­trict court in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

“Win­ning the di­ver­sity lot­tery spot is rare and pre­cious,” the ACLU said.

But un­der the rules, the visa must be is­sued by the end of this fis­cal year, or else it ex­pires and “their golden ticket will van­ish overnight,” the chal­lengers said.

The ACLU said the State De­part­ment should process the visas now, even if the would-be im­mi­grants can’t en­ter un­til later.

The State De­part­ment de­clined to com­ment, cit­ing the now-pend­ing case.

It’s the lat­est chal­lenge to the op­er­a­tions of Mr. Trump’s travel ban, which was par­tially up­held by the Supreme Court in June, with a full hear­ing slated for Oc­to­ber.

Un­der the ban, as al­tered by the courts, the ad­min­is­tra­tion can deny en­try to any­one from six ter­ror­ism-con­nected coun­tries who doesn’t al­ready have a busi­ness, school or fam­ily con­nec­tion to the U.S. The ad­min­is­tra­tion can also halt refugee ad­mis­sions for any­one who doesn’t al­ready have a close tie to a U.S. res­i­dent.

The six coun­tries af­fected are Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men.

The visa lot­tery pro­gram has been con­tro­ver­sial for years. It doles out green cards based purely on chance. The goal is to give po­ten­tial mi­grants from coun­tries with­out large pop­u­la­tions in Amer­ica an op­por­tu­nity to gain a foothold here.

But some an­a­lysts say its use­ful­ness has ended, and Congress has re­peat­edly voted in sep­a­rate bills to nix the lot­tery.

None of those bills has ever cleared both cham­bers of Congress at the same time, how­ever.

Mr. Trump last week em­braced a new bill that would nix the lot­tery, among other lim­its to le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

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