Court Denies Relief Sought In Visa Bulletin Lawsuit

On October 6, 2015, a Federal Court in Washington denied the emergency motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) filed on September 28, 2015 in a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit came after the U.S. Department of State (DOS) published a revised Visa Bulletin for October 2015 a few days before October 1 — when the Visa Bulletin becomes effective.

The court rules:

When considering the balance of equities and the public interest in this matter, the Court finds Defendants’ arguments the more persuasive. Plaintiffs essentially reiterate their case, arguing that Defendants actions were abrupt and unlawful, that “the government cannot claim to suffer any hardship,” and that “the government’s actions in this case threaten to permanently undermine the regulated community’s ability to rely on the Visa Bulletin.” In Response, Defendants argue “[t]he public interest favors applying federal law correctly,” that “it is contrary to the public interest and the law to require an executive agency to act in a manner that exceeds its statutory authority,” and that “should a temporary restraining order be granted and should the Government then succeed in litigation, it would have to incur the substantial cost and burden returning applications.” Most persuasively, however, is Defendants’ argument that “it is in the public’s interest that the agency has the authority to update its guidance when necessary.” Id. Given the claim that the Revised Visa Bulletin corrected a statement contrary to statutory authority, the Court finds that the public interest lies in denying this Motion and that Plaintiffs fail to meet their burden on this element.

While the Court appreciates the confusion caused by the two Visa Bulletins published in September and the potentially wasted expenses Plaintiffs incurred as a result, because Plaintiffs fail to meet the critical elements for a temporary restraining order at this time, the Court cannot issue injunctive relief.

Accordingly, the Court hereby finds and ORDERS that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order is DENIED.