Many families of foreign workers remained jubilant after President Biden on Feb. 24 reversed an executive order issued by Donald Trump that prevented green card applicants from entering the U.S. Immigration advocates pressured Biden since he entered office to rescind the visa ban due to expire on March 31.
Trump ordered the ban last year, citing the move was necessary to protect U.S. workers amidst high unemployment numbers attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Biden’s action represented a firm rebuttal to his predecessor’s action. The president said Trump’s executive order harmed U.S. businesses and stopped families from reuniting in the country.
Backlog of green card applications
While the Biden administration made one major change on the immigration front, it did, however, keep a different ban in place that affects a majority of foreign temporary workers.
With the recent reversal, the Biden administration now must deal with a significant backlog of green card applications, delayed for months due to the closing of most visa processing stemming from the pandemic.
Green card holders are legal permanent residents of the U.S. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues green cards, which allow the holder to live and work in the U.S. Many foreign workers arrive in the U.S., often coming alone but with every intention to reunite with their families someday. Legal permanent residents can sponsor certain relatives to immigrate to the country and eventually secure their own green cards.
Many U.S. businesses have become reliant of foreign workers for their skills, knowledge and abilities. Each year, an estimated 140,000 employment-related immigrant visas are available to suitable applicants.