In line with his pledge to stop discrimination against nationals permitted to access the United States, President Joe Biden ordered the resumption of visa processing in countries his predecessor, Donald Trump, had barred.
In his first executive orders, Biden cancelled the ban on Wednesday.
In the past three years, the Trump administration has slammed a ban on tourism and immigration in a number of countries.
After some three revisions, more than a dozen nations were included on the ban list.
While others have been barred from applying for some form of category, visas that may lead to immigration have been stopped in Nigeria and others.
All 13 are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.
In the specifics of the “Proclamation on the End of Discrimination Bans on Entry to the United States,” Biden said that America was built on the basis of religious freedom and tolerance.
He noted that the previous administration enacted orders that blocked certain individuals “first from primarily Muslim countries, and later, from largely African countries”.
Condemning the actions, Biden said they “are a stain on our national conscience and are inconsistent with our long history of welcoming people of all faiths and no faith at all”.
The President said the decisions jeopardized America’s global network of alliances, partnerships, separated loved ones and inflicted pain that will ripple for years to come.
“They are just plain wrong. Make no mistake; where there are threats to our Nation, we will address them. Where there are opportunities to strengthen information-sharing with partners, we will pursue them.”
Biden said that while a comprehensive, individualised vetting mechanism will be in place, the U.S. will not turn its back on our principles with arbitrary bans.
Revoking Trump’s directives, Biden ordered the resumption of the issuance of visas and clearing the backlog of cases in the issuance of exemptions.
His proclamation reads: “The Secretary of State shall direct all Embassies and Consulates, consistent with applicable law and visa processing procedures, including any related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), to resume visa processing in a manner consistent with the revocation of the Executive Order and Proclamations specified in section 1 of this proclamation.”
The Secretary of State will in 45 days present to the President, the number of visa applicants who were being considered for a waiver of restrictions and a plan for expeditiously adjudicating their pending applications.
Individuals whose immigrant visa applications were denied on the basis of the suspension and restriction on entry will have their applications reconsidered.
Biden directed that the visa applicants could not be negatively affected as a result of the prior rejection of a visa due to the termination and prohibition of entry if they want to re-apply for a visa.
The Government will carry out a study of knowledge exchange with nations around the world to insure that people requesting admission to the U.S. are checked and confirmed.
The proclamation also approves a review of the social media identifiers used by the screening and verification process.