Following his official inauguration, the President of the United States, Joe Biden has signed 15 executive orders and 2 directives reversing some of former President Donald Trump’s policies on climate change and immigration.
The first three orders were signed on camera from Biden’s oval office. The first order the President signed relates to COVID-19 and mandates that masks be worn and social distancing be kept on federal property and interstate commerce etc.
The second order was signed in support of underserved communities, to ensure some bedrock equity and equality as relates to how people are treated. Thirdly, Biden rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris Agreement on climate change, a pact the United States formally halted in November after Trump’s exit in 2017.
One of the executive orders and presidential actions the president signed on Wednesday was the order to cancel the travel ban on countries including Nigeria, Eritrea, Yemen, Sudan and others. The travel ban which Biden referred to as “discriminatory and an affront to the country’s values” was signed by Donald Trump in his first week in office.
The ban initially barred the issuance of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to applicants from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela. In 2020, Trump’s administration added six countries by halting overseas visas for citizens of Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar and appending restrictions on Sudanese and Tanzanian nationals. These bans have now been lifted by the Biden-Harris administration.
The president also conferred a bill to Congress to restore the country’s immigration system. The legislation strives to implement an “8-year pathway to US citizenship for undocumented people, address the causes of migration and speed up the reunification of families after children were separated from parents at the US border with Mexico,” Tribune reports.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan referred to the ban as “nothing less than a stain on our nation,” stating that it was “rooted in xenophobia and religious animus and President-elect Biden has been clear that we will not turn our back on our values with discriminatory bans on entry to the United States.”
Furthermore, Biden has stopped the building of Trump’s signature wall on the U.S.-Mexican border by announcing the “immediate termination” of the national emergency declaration Trump dedicated to funding it. He also increased the suspension on student loan payments and national restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.
According to USA Today, experts say Biden’s speed serves to show importance to “turn the page on a divisive four years under the Trump administration”. Most of the steps cracked what the Biden team refers to as “four overlapping and compounding crises” – the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic damage, climate change and lagging racial equity. Todd Belt, professor and political management program director at George Washington University described Biden’s actions as “trying to show the American people, and the world more generally, that America is back to where it was before the Trump administration,” and a “repudiation of Trump’s approach to governance.”
“There’s no time to waste,” Biden stated before signing the order, assuring that “these are just all starting points” as many more will occur over the next 10 days.