President Joe Biden on Wednesday lifted the freeze on green cards issued by the former President Donald Trump during the pandemic that lawyers said was blocking most legal immigration to the United States.
Former President Donald Trump halted the issuance of green cards until the end of 2020 in the name of protecting the coronavirus-wracked job market — a reason that Trump gave to achieve many of the cuts to legal immigration that had eluded him before the pandemic. Trump on Dec. 31 extended those orders until the end of March. Trump had deemed immigrants a “risk to the U.S. labor market” and blocked their entry to the United States in issuing Proclamation 10014 and Proclamation 10052. Biden stated in his proclamation Wednesday that shutting the door on legal immigrants “does not advance the interests of the United States.” Biden said it had prevented families from reuniting in the United States and harmed US businesses.
Immigrant advocates had pressed in recent weeks for him to lift the visa ban, which was set to expire on March 31. Biden will now have to tackle a growing backlog of applications that have been held up for months as the pandemic shut down most visa processing by the State Department. The process could potentially take years