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Green card: The Donnelly visas allowed 20,000 Irish people were able to embark upon a new life in the US. Photo by: Google Images

Eight Irish see hopes dashed of Green Cards they thought they had won

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Green card: The Donnelly visas allowed 20,000 Irish people were able to embark upon a new life in the US. Photo by: Google Images

But I later learned that there had been an ‘error’ with the selection and that the selections have now been confirmed as being invalid.

After celebrating with family and friends I then had to break the news that we were no longer on the path to living our dream and that fresh start we so badly needed and hoped for. Our dreams had now been shattered at the hands of ‘computer error’. I was heartbroken, as were my entire family. We had already altered our lives with regards extra saving and budgeting everyday essentials in order to ensure we had adequate funds to support ourselves until I found employment when out there. This was all for noting.  Disappointed, saddened, frustrated, heartbroken and exasperated are only some words I can use to describe how I felt. I also know I am not alone in this, as there are 22,000 other hopefuls who like my family and I have had their dreams crushed.

As stated on May 1st, I was selected for the final stage of the Diversity Visa 2012. Error or no error I believe that I, along with the 22,000 other potential victors should have the opportunity, as stated, to proceed to the interview stages in the hopes of potentially receiving a green card to allow us to begin our new lives, and for our dreams to come true.

6.  Ben  – From Belfast, Ireland

I’ve been a lot luckier than a lot of people in search of a green card in that I’ve had the chance to work in the US in the past.  As a result I’ve made a lot of close friends and built great professional relationships.  Unfortunately that doesn’t make it any easier for me to think about emigrating to the USA. 

I think it’s really sad that despite the professed ‘special relationship’ between the US and Ireland this doesn’t result in any concrete advantages when it comes to a working visa.  Until very recently it was pretty easy for US citizens to live and work here – yet we didn’t receive the same opportunities.  Past US presidents are always quick to play up the Irish connection, but unfortunately it seems as if the melting pot no longer accepts Irish citizens who want their piece of the American dream – so much for ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’

This was the second time I’d applied for the diversity visa lottery, and knowing the odds I wasn’t expecting a positive outcome.  When I checked my entry status on May 1st I couldn’t believe it when I saw I had been selected for further processing.  Suddenly all my worries about trying to find an employer who could afford to sponsor a visa, keeping in touch with friends solely via Skype and only being part of the US as an outsider seemed to have disappeared.  I immediately told everyone I knew, started thinking about the logistics of leaving Ireland behind and moving to the US permanently.

Shock doesn’t quite describe how it felt when the results of the lottery were annulled.  In a lot of ways it had felt too good to be true – and this seemed only to reinforce that.   All those worries that had disappeared were now back, only worse than before because something I’d wanted for so long had been given to me, and then taken away – far worse than never having it in the first place. 

I’m also really concerned about how this situation will impact any future plans to work, study or visit the USA – as I have now technically shown intent to immigrate, which may make obtaining any other visa impossible.   So not only am I losing out, now I feel like I’m being penalised.  The fact that so many people are afraid to come forward and discuss this, or use their real name gives you an idea of the fear and paranoia surrounding this situation.

These 22,000 winners aren’t planning to go and sponge off the American system – they want to go and contribute to the US economy – the rigorous checks after ‘winning’ the lottery are there to ensure that.

Human error or computer error, 22,000 people have been impacted in a profound emotional way by this.  The way this whole debacle was handled has negatively impacted my view of the US and the State Department, and I’m from a first world country.  If I’d been one of those whose dreams of a life safe from political or social oppression and extreme poverty were shattered I think those feelings would only be magnified.  Toying with people on this scale just cannot be justified.

The drawing made for May 1st was still random, and surely some accommodation could be made to allow the 22,000 chosen to have their places reinstated amongst the 100,000 people selected?

7.  Claire  – from Dublin, Ireland

-    Claire is from Dublin, Ireland, where she went to University
-    She works in the performing arts, and her craft has taken her to Philadelphia, USA
-    Claire has been working in the performing arts in the U.S. under an ‘O’ type visa, but this is soon to expire
-    Claire was elated at winning the green card lottery, allowing her to stay in the U.S. and continue performing
-    Having the offer taken away was devastating, and prevents a real possibility that she will not be able to follow her performing arts career in the U.S. as planned

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