United States President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders, memoranda and directives it will reverse some of the most divisive policies of his predecessor Donald Trump, most notably the rescinding of the so-called “Muslim ban” and the return to the Paris climate agreement.
A few hours after his inauguration On Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, Biden signed 15 executive actions that his team said were aimed at “reversing the Trump administration’s most serious damage.”
Biden told reporters from the Oval Office that there was “no time to waste.”
“Some of the executive actions that I am going to sign today are going to help change the course of the COVID crisis, we are going to tackle climate change in ways that we have not yet done and advance racial equity and supporting other underserved communities, ”he said, as reported by Reuters news agency.
Political observers say Biden’s first major challenge as he enters the White House will be tackling the growing COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 people across the country to date.
To that effect, Biden signed an order on Wednesday afternoon to institute a 100-day mask mandate across the United States and appoint a COVID-19 coordinator to manage a national response to the pandemic.
Here’s a look at some of Biden’s early executive actions as president:
Overthrowing the “ Muslim ban ”
Biden is lifting the so-called “Muslim ban,” an executive order signed by Trump in 2017 that barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The ban has been amended several times amid legal challenges and ultimately upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2018.
The Council on US-Islamic Relations hailed the decision as “an important first step towards rescinding the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies of the previous administration.”
“This is a significant achievement of a campaign commitment to the Muslim community and its allies,” group executive director Nihad Awad said in a statement.
Join the Paris Agreement
The United States will once again become a party to the Paris Agreement, Biden also announced.
The decision to join the international climate change treaty is expected to take effect 30 days after it is filed with the UN, Biden’s team said earlier Wednesday.
In November, the United States became the first country in the world to withdraw from the treaty – a move that fueled tensions between Washington and its allies in Europe and sparked widespread reprimand from environmental and advocacy groups. human rights.
Launch Mask Mandate
Biden ordered a mandatory mask warrant in all U.S. federal buildings for the first 100 days of his administration in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Infectious Disease Society of America immediately welcomed this decision.
“The President’s order comes at a critical time when vaccines, along with a plan to accelerate their deployment, offer new hope, but also when more easily transmitted variants of the virus present new challenges,” said the President. group.
Re-engagement with WHO
Biden ends Trump’s planned withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Trump administration notified Congress and the United Nations in July last year that the United States was formally withdrawing from the WHO. The decision is said to have come into force in July.
Trump justified the decision by saying the WHO “has failed to deliver the requested and much needed reforms” and accusing the group of helping China cover up the origins of the novel coronavirus.
The Biden-Harris administration is expected to participate in a WHO executive board meeting that continues this week, Biden’s team said earlier Wednesday.
Bob Goodfellow, Acting Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, hailed Biden’s WHO decision as “an essential first step” in re-establishing Washington’s cooperation with the international community.
He also urged Biden to support WHO’s COVAX program, which aims to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are evenly distributed among countries.
“It is of the utmost importance that the Biden administration lead multilateral efforts to fight the pandemic and to support and fund global immunization efforts,” Goodfellow said.
Construction of border walls stopped
Biden also rescinded the declaration of national emergency that had been used to justify some of Trump’s funding hijackings to build the wall on the US-Mexico border.
The order, the Biden team said earlier Wednesday, will impose an “immediate pause” on construction to allow for a review of the financing and contracting methods used.
Building a “big” and “beautiful” wall between the United States and Mexico to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the country was one of the main promises of Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
Keystone pipeline approval canceled
Biden also revoked the presidential license granted to the multibillion-dollar Keystone XL pipeline, a controversial energy project that was to ship 830,000 barrels of oil per day between the Canadian province of Alberta and the US state of Nebraska.
Canada, which this week said it remained committed to the project, expressed “disappointment” at Wednesday’s decision.
But Matthew Campbell, a lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund, who has represented Indigenous nations in legal challenges against Keystone XL, said Al Jazeera Biden’s decision was a “rationale” for Indigenous communities opposed to the pipeline.
In 2012, while Vice President to President Barack Obama, the United States adopted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to provide temporary relief from deportation to “Dreamers,” young people who were brought to the United States as a child.
The Trump administration tried to end the program, through which 700,000 young people sought relief.
In a presidential memorandum signed Wednesday, Biden asked the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the United States Attorney General, to ensure that the DACA is preserved and fortified.
The memorandum also calls on Congress to enact legislation that would provide “permanent status and a pathway to citizenship” for dreamers.