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Joe Biden revokes Trump’s immigrant visa ban


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The Biden administration took another step on Thursday to undo the Trump administration’s immigration policy legacy by revoking Donald Trump’s suspension of new immigrant visas which had been in effect since late April last year. The order had been extended through to March 31 by Mr. Trump.

The now revoked order (Proclamation 10014) had suspended the entry of certain immigrants and non-immigrants into the U.S. ostensibly on grounds of protecting the U.S. labour market in the wake of COVID-19.

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In his proclamation, President Joe Biden said his predecessor’s proclamation, “does not advance the interests of the United States” and that “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 utilise talent from around the world. And it harms individuals who were selected to receive the opportunity to apply for, and those who have likewise received, immigrant visas through the Fiscal Year 2020 Diversity Visa Lottery,” he said.

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The U.S. issues up to 55,000 immigrant visas (these become “Green Cards” after the recipient enters the U.S.) via its diversity lottery each year to encourage immigration from nationalities that are demographically under-represented in the U.S. Green cards for some 26,000 new arrivals were halted on a monthly basis because of Proposition 10014, as per estimates from the Migration Policy Institute.

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Mr. Biden however did not revoke a Trump administration pause on H1-B (skilled worker), L(intracompany transfer) and several other work and exchange visitor visa categories (and dependents of these visa holders) that went into effect on June 24 last year.

H1-B visas are predominantly granted to workers in the IT sector, and most of these visas — over 70% — have gone to Indian citizens in recent years.