Washington: US President Joe Biden reopened the country on Wednesday to people seeking green cards, ending a ban on legal immigration that former President Donald Trump imposed last year, citing what he said was the need to protect American jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The New York Times, Biden in a proclamation, said that the ban did “not advance the interests of the United States,” challenging Trump’s claims that the way to protect the American economy during the health crisis was to shut the country off from the rest of the world.
“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. It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world,” the proclamation read.
NYT further reported that the President’s action was the latest example of his efforts to roll back Trump’s assault on the nation’s immigration system. Since taking office, Biden has issued several executive orders and directives aimed at lifting restrictions on immigrants put in place over the past four years.
Issuance of Green cards was paused during coronavirus crisis
In April last year, as the coronavirus crisis worsened, Trump ordered a “pause” in the issuance of green cards, one of the primary ways that foreigners can receive permission to live and work in the United States. Then-President Trump described his action as a way to protect Americans, millions of whom lost their jobs as the threat of the coronavirus shut down the economy.
“By pausing immigration, we will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens. So important,” Trump said as quoted by NYT. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labour flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker.”
Biden has also proposed a more far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, fulfilling a campaign promise he made to send legislation to Congress on the first day of his presidency.
Eight-year path to citizenship
The President in his legislation would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
The legislation has been proposed in the House and Senate by Biden’s Democratic allies, but it is unclear whether it can earn enough Republican support to pass the Senate, NYT reported.