In his first hours as president of the United States, Joe Biden plans to sign a dozen executive orders to deal with the pandemic and reverse some of the most controversial decisions of his predecessor, Donald Trump, such as the exit from the Paris climate agreement and the veto Muslim countries.
In interviews, speeches, and in up to 49 memos published throughout the election campaign, Biden detailed what measures he would pass “on his first day” in the White House, in what he described as a “battle for the soul of the nation ”against Trump.
From the first day the new president will have to face four serious problems: the Covid-19 pandemic, the consequent economic weakness of the country, the climate crisis and the conflict over inequalities and racial violence in the United States.
It will first ask Americans to wear chinstraps in federal facilities and interstate transportation such as airplanes and buses, a measure that expand restrictions that local governments have already imposed.
It will extend a measure to ban evictions, benefiting some 25 million Americans. It will order an extension of the moratorium on student loan payments in the country, something that will benefit 43 million Americans who in total owe 1.7 trillion dollars.
The White House prepares to welcome its new tenant Joe Biden this Wednesday. Photo: AFP
Immigration and climate change
The Democratic leader will sign an executive order to reintegrate the United States, the second most polluting country on the planet, into the Paris Agreement against climate change and from which the North American nation officially left on November 4, 2020 by order of Trump.
Another important point: Biden will end Trump’s immigration veto, that currently blocks nationals from 11 countries with significant Muslim populations (Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, and Yemen) from entering the U.S. and includes restrictions on Venezuela and North Korea.
The president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden and his wife Jill paid tribute this Tuesday to the 400,000 deaths from coronavirus in the country, in front of the Washington Monument, in the capital. Photo: Bloomberg
In addition, it will send to Congress an ambitious immigration reform which includes a pathway for 11 million undocumented immigrants to access citizenship, an expansion of the asylum policy, and a plan to strengthen border security through the use of technology.
During the campaign, Biden pledged to use his first day in power to prevent the United States from leaving the World Health Organization (WHO), a process that Trump initiated and is scheduled to take effect in July 2021. However, the president-elect’s team has not disclosed whether Biden plans to take such action immediately upon his arrival in the White House.
The Democratic leader also promised that, on the first day, he would repeal Trump’s veto of trans people in the Army and that he would restore a rule passed by former President Barack Obama to allow transgender students in public schools to use the bathrooms in function of the gender with which they identify.
The first day’s measures will be just a hint of what’s to come in the next 10 days, as Biden plans to sign executive orders to reunite separated families at the border, expand testing for the virus, and safely reopen schools and business, according to the letter distributed by his chief of staff.