Joe Biden has rescinded a ban on thousands of illegal immigrants and their families from entering the United States though the visa application process.
The ban was originally introduced by the Trump administration last year, and blocked a number of green card applicants and their immediate families from entering the country.
The US president, rescinding the ban on Wednesday, said he believed his predecessor’s reasoning was wrong and that the ban on certain visa applicants was preventing families from reuniting in the United States and harmed businesses.
“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,” Mr Biden wrote. “It also harms industries in the United States that utilise talent from around the world.”
The Biden administration had come under increasing pressure to rescind the Trump-era ban and issue a proclamation to reverse the changes, which were introduced by the former US president amid the cornavirus pandemic in April 2020, and were extended for almost a year.
The restrictions, were due to expire on 31 March 2021, included bans on prospective immigrants whose applications to permanently move to the US were sponsored by family members or prospective employers.
As was the US’s diversity visa lottery program allowing immigrants from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the US, many of which are African, to gain entry via green cards.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly one million green cards are issued a year, and the Trump administration’s restrictions targeted around 316,000 visas, based on 2019’s numbers.
Mr Trump argued at the time that the restrictions were necessary to support the integrity of the US labour market, which came under pressure during the pandemic.
The ban has long been criticised despite spouses and the children of US citizens not being subject to the restrictions — as were some health care workers fighting the pandemic, and wealthy immigrants who agreed to invest more than $1 million (£700 million) in the US, according to CBS News.