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President Biden Rescinds Restrictions on New Immigrant Admissions

25 Feb

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation revoking former President Trump’s proclamation that suspended the admission of new immigrants (i.e., permanent residents) to the United States. 

The original Presidential Proclamation implementing the suspension was issued by former President Trump on April 22, 2020, and subsequent proclamations extended the suspension through March 31, 2021.  The portions of those additional proclamations applicable to immigrant visa processes have also been rescinded. 

President Biden declared the Trump restriction on admission of immigrants contrary to the interests of the United States because “it harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here.” President Biden also cited the fact that the restriction has hindered the immigration of intending immigrants selected in the annual Diversity Visa Lottery and has threatened their ability to benefit from their selection. 

President Biden’s proclamation notably does not end the Trump Era restriction on most new H-1B, L, and J temporary workers and exchange visitors.  That restriction remains in place through March 31, 2021.  Most applicants seeking a visa or admission in these classifications continue to require a National Interest Exception (NIE) to be issued a visa or admitted to the United States until at least April 1, 2021.  It is unclear whether the restriction on these nonimmigrant classifications will be extended, but conventional wisdom suggests President Biden will simply allow the restriction to expire on March 31, 2021, without taking action to renew or extend it. 

As always, Foster LLP will continue to monitor Presidential Proclamations and other executive actions impacting on immigration benefits and will make future updates available via Foster Immigration Updates and on the Foster website at www.fosterglobal.com