Biden Lifts Ban On New Green Card Holders

By Alyssa Aquino
Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our weekly newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the weekly Coronavirus briefing.

Sign up for our Public Policy newsletter

You must correct or enter the following before you can sign up:

Select more newsletters to receive for free [+] Show less [-]

Thank You!

Law360 (February 24, 2021, 6:46 PM EST) -- President Joe Biden on Wednesday lifted the Trump administration's orders preventing foreigners from moving to the U.S. on new green cards, saying the orders failed to advance American interests.

Biden issued a proclamation to revoke Former President Donald Trump's Proclamation 10014 and its two extensions ahead of their expected March 31 expiration date. Trump first enacted the ban in April, saying he wanted to protect U.S. workers who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Biden said the ban didn't advance those interests. Proclamation 10014 "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," he said.

Biden's move late Wednesday didn't address the fate of work visa holders targeted under Trump's related Proclamation 10052. Though Biden rescinded the portion of that June order extending the green card ban, he left intact the sections temporarily barring several types of work visa holders from entering the U.S., including highly-skilled H-1B workers and H-2B guest workers.

The green card ban was criticized immediately after it came down, with immigrants saying it was beyond Trump's authority to block immigration in such a way and taking issue with his stated reason for doing so. These concerns quickly landed before the courts, with immigrants petitioning federal judges to strike the ban down.

Among the many litigants were the winners of the last year's Diversity Visa Lottery. The visa winners additionally accused the U.S. Department of State of adopting a "no-visa policy" and stopping work on visa applications for people subject to the ban. Based on those claims, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ordered the agency to quickly process the diversity visa applications before they expired Sept. 30.

The State Department eventually issued 15,400 of the 55,000 available diversity visas. Judge Mehta rescued an additional 9,000 unused visas, saying they'd be issued based on his final ruling. The remaining 30,000 expired.

Biden noted the plight of the 2020 diversity visa winners in his Wednesday proclamation.

"Proclamation 10014 has prevented these individuals from entering the United States, resulting, in some cases, in the delay and possible forfeiture of their opportunity to receive Fiscal Year 2020 diversity visas and to realize their dreams in the United States," Biden said.

In the same proclamation, Biden directed the U.S. secretaries of state, labor and homeland security to review and address any regulations, policies and "any other similar agency actions" created under Trump's ban.

In court filings, advocates say the State Department's no-visa policy has left it with a backlog of 473,000 family-based visa applications.

Litigation over the ban continues around the country, with courts mulling Trump's authority to restrict immigration for his stated economic reasons. The courts previously weighed the the White House's authority to block immigration when they considered the legality of Trump's separate ban against individuals from a number of Muslim-majority and African countries. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld that travel ban.

--Editing by Breda Lund.

For a reprint of this article, please contact

Attached Documents

Useful Tools & Links

Related Sections

Government Agencies

Judge Analytics

Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!