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A Look at Joe Biden’s First-Day Executive Orders

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As of January 20, 12 PM EST, Joe Biden is officially the new President of the United States. And, his first actions as president? Reversing the Trump Administration’s actions on immigration, climate change, racial equity, and the pandemic. 

A few hours into the inauguration, he was in the oval office signing executive orders stopping the construction of the Mexico-border wall, lifting the travel ban in Muslim-majority countries, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, and revoking approval for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. 

Of course, there still is more to come from Biden’s Presidency:

Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic

Biden plans to enact a mask and social distancing mandate for all federal employees, buildings and lands. Biden’s goal is to provide 100 million vaccines within his first 100 days as president. 

World Health Organization

Rejoining the World Health Organization is on Biden’s list of priorities, which Donald Trump claimed was “incompetent” and withdrew from due to pressure from China.

The White House coronavirus coordinator, Jeff Zients, has even announced that Dr. Fauci will give a speech to the WHO, where he will lay out plans to  help promote global health and security. 

DACA

Also known as the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program, the program prevents the deportation of thousands of immigrants without legal status who arrived here as children. Biden is preserving DACA as well as calling on Congress to grant legal status and guidance with citizenship to the recipients of the program which is currently 700,000 people. 

Deportation and Immigrants

Biden plans to revoke the executive order Trump put in place to deport 11 million immigrants without legal status. However, this action will be up to Homeland Security as they review the plan and the enforcement priorities.

Biden also plans to count undocumented immigrants in the Census, introduce legislation to grant green cards to undocumented Americans, and create a smoother path to citizenship. Most will have to wait eight years for their citizenship but DACA recipients will only have to wait three years. Other provisions include reducing wait time for green cards for people outside the United States, deployment aid to Central America, and reducing the 1.2 trillion backlogs in immigration courts-all provisions that are crucial to helping asylum seekers. 

Student Debt

Congress put a pause on payments until this month but Biden is pushing for it to go through to the end of September. 

Currently borrowers owe a collective $1.5 trillion dollars, but with the possible extension of the virus relief package, they will not be required to make payments, interest will not accrue, and all activity would be halted. Democrats are pushing for student debt forgiveness and cancellation, but Biden’s order has not included that as of yet. 

Foreclosure Forgiveness

Biden plans to extend the prevention of evictions and housing foreclosures until March 31, 2021. Due to the pandemic, 12 percent of homeowners are behind on mortgage payments and 19 percent of renters on their monthly payments.

So there you have it—Biden’s first day in office and he’s not wasting any time. Only two recent presidents signed orders on their first day in office—each only signed one. Meanwhile, Biden has already signed 15 executive orders on his first day as president. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden said.

Alanna Smith is a writer based in New York City. Her background is in communications and digital marketing. She loves reading fantasy novels and cooking in her spare time, as well as traveling. Her passions lie in social justice, unsolved mysteries, and history.