In February, President Joe Biden lifted a ban on work visas in the U.S. that the previous administration had put in place during the pandemic. The ban was largely responsible for preventing a majority of legal U.S. immigration.
Blocking Green Cards Amid the Pandemic
In the spring of 2020, former President Donald Trump blocked green card issuance—including the issuance of work visas—in a ban that was to continue for the rest of the year. The proposed goal was to protect American jobs throughout the pandemic, which was often the reason the Trump administration gave to implement other anti-immigration policies.
In December, Trump expanded the ban to prevent its release until the end of March. In February, before the extension was set to expire, Biden stated that the ban was not in the best interests of the country and instead claimed that it harmed the nation. By preventing most immigrants from legally entering the U.S. immigrant families were kept apart and businesses in the U.S. suffered from the inability to hire the talent they needed. The ban also resulted in the loss of thousands of immigrants who won the visa lottery after they were chosen out of a pool of 14 million who applied for permanent residency. Immigrants were unable to bring their family members to the U.S. unless they had already gained citizenship and sponsored their spouses or children under the age of 21.
Putting an End to the Ban
Although a federal judge enabled temporary foreign workers to enter the U.S. with a workaround for Proclamation 10052, Proclamation 10014 remained in place to prevent many immigrants from entering. Biden worked fast to lift the Trump-era travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim nations, but the delay in lifting the ban on green cards still prevented many individuals from those countries from entering.
Within days following a court order issued to put visas on hold for thousands of individuals who won the visa lottery, Biden lifted the visa ban to enable those winners to enter the country.
Preventing Future Bans
In addition to lifting the recent green card ban, the Biden administration has proposed new legislation to help prevent any future president from being able to issue similar bans. If the legislation is implemented, this would help prevent future immigrants from experiencing the same struggles at any point.