President Biden issued an executive order on Wednesday lifting a Trump-era ban on new green cards during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here,” Biden said in a proclamation reversing the measure.
“It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world,” the President added. “And it harms individuals who were selected to receive the opportunity to apply for, and those who have likewise received, immigrant visas through the Fiscal Year 2020 Diversity Visa Lottery.”
The Trump administration argued that a ban was necessary to protect the jobs of American workers during the pandemic, calling immigrants a “risk to the U.S. labor market.” Trump issued the order in April, and extended it twice, the latest until the end of March.
The ban blocked family members from coming to the United States, unless they were the spouse, parent or unmarried child of a U.S. citizen. It also kept out those on employment-based visas as well as immigrants who had won a green card through the visa lottery.
Boundless estimated that Trump’s ban could lead to a backlog of 358,000 green cards.
“Today hundreds of thousands of people can regain hope of resuming their lives,” said Doug Rand, Boundless co-founder and immigration policy expert.