President Joe Biden lifted Trump’s temporary freeze on green cards this past Wednesday. Former president Trump had halted the issuance of green cards last spring in response to the pandemic. In his 2020 proclamation, Trump deemed immigrants a “risk to the U.S. labor market.” This original order applied to the entirety of 2020, and was later extended to the end of March.
Trump’s freeze blocked the majority of legal immigration to the country. About 120,000 family preference visas were lost. Employment based visas were limited only to those considered beneficial to national interests, such as healthcare workers. Visa lottery winners were denied. A large portion of immigrants were unable to bring over family members. These blocked visas only added to the growing visa backlog.
Biden’s Wednesday proclamation offered hope to these groups barred by Trump’s policy. Before revoking Trump’s proclamation, the president emphasized that shutting out legal immigrants “harms the country” and “does not advance the interests of the United States.” He shared his sympathy with families separated by the restrictions and individuals selected by the immigration lottery that had their opportunities delayed.
Trump’s action was wrong, intended primarily to circumvent the law and further harm immigrants. While many hoped Biden would act far sooner on the matter, at least action has finally come, and another barrier has been lifted. Hopefully those who were unable to obtain green cards due to this freeze will be able to actualize their hopes soon.
Read Biden’s Proclamation Here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/02/24/a-proclamation-on-revoking-proclamation-10014/