President Joe Biden lifted a Trump-era policy on Wednesday that halted green cards and other forms of immigration due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden said the executive orders did “not advance the interests of the United States,” in a proclamation issued Wednesday.
“To the contrary, 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 the order delayed and caused some immigrants “possible forfeiture of their opportunity….to realize their dreams in the United States.”
Former President Donald Trump issued the 60-day pause in April that stopped the issuance of green cards to limit competition for jobs as thousands filed for unemployment due to coronavirus, according to CNBC.
“To protect American workers I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States,” Trump said at a White House briefing, according to CNBC. (RELATED: Supreme Court To Review Trump Administration Rule On Government Benefits For Immigrants)
Trump extended the order in June, which barred immigrants seeking employment-based visas. The order made exceptions for lawful permanent residents, foreign workers involved in treating and researching the coronavirus along with those working in the food-supply chain.
The decision was met with criticism by some, including Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham who said the decision would create “a drag on our economic recovery.”
“The shuttering of these programs may not lead to employment opportunities for displaced American workers, but could instead increase the cost of consumer goods for Americans — particularly service industry related products.”
Legal immigration is a positive for the American economy, and visa programs allowing American companies to secure qualified, legal labor throughout the world have benefitted economic growth in the United States.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 22, 2020
Trump again extended the work visa and green card ban in January through March 31, citing high unemployment.
Immigrants who were waiting until the end of March to apply for the visas can now do so immediately thanks to Biden’s proclamation.