During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration put a ban on certain work visas. Trump had frozen new green cards during the pandemic, arguing that the clampdown was important to safeguard the United States economy, protect jobs, and for public health reasons. Trump also halted temporary work visas for skilled workers, managers, and au pairs, including H-1B, H-2B, H-4, L-1, and J categories.
In February 2021, President Biden revoked the freeze on many visas and green cards, stating that the freeze was not in the best interests of the United States. Biden also noted that the freeze hurt industries and families and noted that it prevented qualified non-U.S. residents from entering the country. While Biden did not take steps to reopen some temporary work visas, the freeze is set to expire on March 31, 2021, and there is no indication that Biden intends to take further action.
The visa ban has contributed to a backlog of over 400,000 family-based visa applications alone. As many as 120,000 family-based preference visas were lost. The ban had far-reaching consequences both on immigrants and on the USCIS, which lost revenue due to a lack of visa applications. In addition, visa lottery winners were also refused entry, denying them the green cards that would allow them to live in the United States permanently.
In addition to lifting the immigration ban, President Biden has indicated that he intends to propose legislation that would limit the presidential authority to impose bans on immigration. Congress currently has the constitutional authority to delegate to the president broad powers related to immigration. Administrations have used this power to ban and extend immigration depending on their policy considerations.
If you want to explore your immigration options, then you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we have the experience and creativity you need to help you successfully achieve your immigration goals. Contact us online or call us at 305-924-1133 to schedule a consultation.