United States (US) President, Joe Biden, on Wednesday, revoked a proclamation from his predecessor that blocked many green card applicants from entering the US.
Former President Donald Trump issued the ban last year, saying it was needed to protect U.S. workers amid high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Biden rejected that reasoning in a proclamation on Wednesday rescinding the visa ban. The Democratic president said it had prevented families from reuniting in the US and harmed U.S. businesses.
President Biden, a Democrat, has pledged to reverse many of President Trump’s hardline immigration policies. Immigrant advocates had pressed in recent weeks for him to lift the visa ban, which was set to expire on March 31.
President Biden left in place another ban on most foreign temporary workers.
In October, a federal judge in California blocked Mr Trump’s ban on those foreign guest workers as it affected hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses that fought the policy in court.
Curtis Morrison, a California-based immigration attorney, who represents people subject to the ban, said President Biden will now have to tackle a growing backlog of applications that have been held up for months as the pandemic shut down most visa processing by the State Department.
The process could potentially take years, he said.
“It’s a backlog that Trump created,” Morrison said. “He broke the immigration system.”
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.