Biden to Halt Trump Border Wall Construction, End 'Muslim Travel Ban' in First-day Order, Return US to WHO
File photo of Joe Biden.
Biden will sign 17 orders and actions hours after being sworn in as US leader to break from policies of departing President Donald Trump and set new paths on immigration, the environment, fighting coronavirus, and the economy, said aides.
- Last Updated:January 20, 2021, 19:55 IST
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US President-elect Joe Biden plans to kick off his new administration on Wednesday with orders to restore the United States to the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization, aides said.
In first-day moves, he will end Trump's much-assailed ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries and halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration.
Overall, Biden will sign 17 orders and actions hours after being sworn in as US leader to break from policies of departing President Donald Trump and set new paths on immigration, the environment, fighting Covid-19 and the economy, they said.
He will also set a mask mandate on federal properties to stem the spread of Covid-19; restore protections of nature reserves removed by Trump; and seek freezes on evictions and protection for millions behind on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also plans to send a bill to Congress to revamp immigration policies and give millions of undocumented migrants living in the country a path to citizenship that the Trump administration denied.
Here are the Major Actions Biden Will Take on His First Day:
ENDING BAN ON MUSLIM TRAVELERS: Biden is ending what is variously known as the travel ban or the Muslim ban, one of the first acts of the Trump administration. Trump in January 2017 banned foreign nationals from seven mostly Muslim countries from entry into the country. After a lengthy court fight, a watered-down version of the rule was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in 2018.
The new administration says it will improve the screening of visitors by strengthening information sharing with foreign governments and other measures.
Biden is immediately ending the national emergency that Trump declared on the border in February 2018 to divert billions of dollars from the Defense Department to wall construction. He also is halting construction to review contracts and how wall money might be redirected.
PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD: Biden will sign an executive orders to rejoin the Paris climate accord, fulfilling a campaign pledge to get back into the global climate pact on Day One. Trump, a supporter of oil, gas and coal, had made a first priority of pulling out of global efforts to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions. It will take 30 days for the U.S. to officially be back in.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
Biden also is directing the government to rejoin the World Health Organization, which Donald Trump withdrew from earlier this year after accusing it of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus.
Symbolizing Bidens commitment to a more prominent global role, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci will deliver a speech Thursday to the WHO as head of a U.S. delegation. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, will lay out how the administration intends to work with the WHO on reforms, supporting the coronavirus response and promoting global health and health security.
MASK REQUIREMENT: Biden is requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands and by federal employees and contractors. Consistently masking up is a practice that science has shown to be effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, particularly when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
He is challenging all Americans to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his administration. Thats a critical period, since communities will still be vulnerable to the virus even as the pace of vaccination increases in pursuit of Bidens goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.
Biden will order his Cabinet to work to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has shielded hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country as young children from deportation since it was introduced in 2012.
Trump ordered an end to DACA in 2017, triggering a legal challenge that ended in June when the Supreme Court ruled that it should be kept in place because the Trump administration failed to follow federal rule-making guidelines in undoing it. But DACA is still facing legal challenges.
In his presidential proclamation, Biden is calling on Congress to adopt legislation that gives DACA recipients permanent legal status and a path to citizenship. There are currently about 700,000 people enrolled.
Biden is revoking one of Trumps first executive orders, which declared that all of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally are considered priorities for deportation. The Department of Homeland Security will conduct a review of enforcement priorities. Bidens campaign site says deportations will focus on national security and public safety threats.
The order says nothing about a 100-day moratorium on deportations that Biden promised during the campaign. Susan Rice, who is tapped to run the White House Domestic Policy Council, says any decision on moratoriums would come from Homeland Security.