2020 Visa Lottery winners call on Marco Rubio to support visa extension

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Within a week of the end of the official deadline for migratory formalities in the 2020 Visa Lottery Sweepstakes, an initiative in change.org calls on Republican Senator Marco Rubio to support the extension of visas for Cubans who have been unable to leave their country and reach the U.S.

“The dream of coming to the United States from thousands of families is about to be destroyed,” notes the signature collection request that has now secured 1,528 supports and aims to reach 2,500.

As Leonardo Rifa explains in the petition made to Senator Marco Rubio, presidential proclamation 10014 delayed the visa process for five months. Hence they request that a fiscal year be extended for the processing of Diversity 2020 visas.

“Without this extension, dozens of families would see their dreams destroyed. We are now asking Senator Marco Rubio to support an extension for these families,” says the accompanying text in English and Spanish on the signature collection proposal.

Presidential Proclamation 10014

The Presidential Proclamation signed by Donald Trump on April 22, 2020 and extended to Presidential Proclamation 10052 of June 22 states that the State Department will not issue immigrant visas to those who pose a risk to the U.S. labor market during the recovery period of the COVID-19 crisis. It will be in effect until December 31 (included), but could be extended.

However, persons whose immigrant visas have been issued before 23:59 on 23 April 2020 are not affected by the Presidential Proclamation.

In addition, health professionals, spouses, children and future adoptive children of U.S. citizens and some special immigrant visa applicants are cleared from consular headquarters.

The court decision

A federal court has favored 1,350 Cubans (out of 2,703 2020 Visa Lottery winners) not to be affected by Donald Trump’s Presidential Proclamation that prevents foreigners from processing their residence in the country until December 31 of this year.

A District of Columbia court ruling, made public on the 4th of this month, ruled that those benefiting from the 2020 Visa Lottery can claim their immigrant visa by September 30, favoring those who had their applications frozen by the presidential proclamation.

Following this court order, the U.S. Government ordered its embassies and consulates to prioritize visa applications from the 2020 Visa Lottery winners and recommended Cubans on expired immigrant visas to contact the diplomatic locations where they were given the visa.

Dozens of 2020 Visa winners caught in Cuba

There are many Cuban winners of the 2020 Visa Lottery who have been stranded in Cuba with visas issued last March in Guyana and defeated in August and September on the island.

Although they are not affected by Proclamation 10014, they have not been able to leave the island because the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) does not give them the conjunctural permission it established in times of pandemic and that only foreigners and Cubans with dual citizenship are receiving.

But there are also those who have not yet been able to pass the interview in Guyana because they are required to fly with a confirmed flight and Cuba has kept the island’s borders closed since March 24, even though the MININT has nuanced that they are only “regulated”, thus using the term it uses to prevent activists and opponents from entering the country.

Among the stranded on the island is the Cuban Deivi Alexei Zayas Dominguez. He won the 2020 Visa Lottery which gives him the possibility to legally emigrate to the United States. Within a week of the legal deadline for this migration process, he has not yet been able to pass the visa interview at the American embassy in Guyana.

Deivi should fly to Georgetown to do that interview by September 30th. “All we need is an extension of the date so we can travel to the interview as soon as they open the borders of Cuba and Guyana,” he told in statements.

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