In a move that will come as a relief to hundreds of thousands of Indians, US President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked a ban issued by his predecessor, Donald Trump, that blocked many green card applicants from entering America.
Trump issued the ban last spring, claiming it was needed to protect American workers amid high unemployment due to the pandemic. “We must first take care of the American worker,” he had said.
The ban did not affect American citizens from trying to bring their family to the US. But it did bar other foreigners, including the relatives of green card holders.
The ban “harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilise talent from around the world”, the Democratic president said while lifting Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 100014.
Curtis Morrison, a California-based immigration lawyer who represented thousands of people whose green cards were blocked by the ban, said the ban had added to an already growing visa backlog.
“I’m thrilled for my clients who are now in a position that they can now enter the US,” he told Reuters news agency. “But that backlog will take years [to clear] if the administration does not take ambitious measures.”
Biden has promised to roll back his predecessor’s hardline immigration policies. Since taking office, he has issued a raft of directives aimed at lifting restrictions on immigrants put in place by the Trump administration. On January 20, his first day in office, he lifted a travel ban on 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries, halted construction of the US-Mexico border wall and reversed other measures.