With the stroke of a pen, incoming President Joe Biden is expected to do Wednesday what Democrats have been trying to do since former President Donald Trump took office four years ago — halt construction of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
The “immediate pause” on wall construction is among 17 executive actions or orders that Biden is expected to sign on his first day in office, according to Fox News.
Biden has said he will revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline as part of a climate change executive order.
“He will sign a broad executive order that takes steps that are imperative to address our climate crisis and will create good union jobs and advance environmental justice,” climate adviser Gina McCarthy said, saying Biden will reverse “more than 100 of the previous administration’s harmful policies.”
Biden on Wednesday will begin the process of getting the U.S. readmitted to the Paris climate treaty, which seeks to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, as well as begin building bridges with the World Health Organization, which Trump said the U.S. would flee because of the WHO’s actions in helping China cover up information at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
An executive order ending what’s known as the Mexico City policy that bars foreign organizations funded by American dollars from providing information, referrals or services for abortions is expected either Wednesday or very early into the Biden presidency.
“He wants to roll up his sleeves and get to work as quickly as possible,” incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Biden’s order on the wall will halt the flow of funding and “determine the best way to redirect funds that were diverted by the prior administration to fund wall construction.”
A companion order will begin reshaping the rules for immigration enforcement and call for the Department of Homeland Security to develop “civil immigration enforcement policies that best protect the American people” that are “in line with our values and priorities.”
“The Biden administration is going to have a very different approach to regional migration,” said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s pick for national security adviser.
In the longer term, Biden will have “special emphasis” on the “root causes of migration in the region.”
Biden is “committed to rebuilding the nation’s asylum system,” Sullivan said.
Biden has already pledged to ask Congress to pass immigration laws that would create a path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the country and legislatively enact the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
One immigration-related order on Biden’s to-do list is to overturn one of Trump’s executive orders that limited entry into the U.S. from residents of Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iran. Korea and Venezuela were among the countries later added to the list.
Although Trump said the ban was needed to protect the nation, Sullivan said it was rooted in “religious animus and xenophobia.”
An executive order expected to be signed on Wednesday will end Trump’s call to base the official Census count on only citizens.
Biden’s other orders will include one requiring masks and social distancing in all federal buildings and an extension of a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through March 31. Biden will also launch a “100-day masking challenge” as part of his drive to push all Americans to wear masks in public.
Biden will be asking the Department of Education to extend a grace period on repaying interest and principal of student loans until Sept. 30.
Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese said Biden “supports Congress acting immediately to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt per person.”
“These are emergency measures that will help make sure no American is put in the place to make the decision to pay their student loans or put food on the table,” Deese said.
White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice said Biden will issue an order making equity an administration watchword. Biden will put “racial justice and equity at the center of our agenda” and will build a “whole of government approach to racial justice,” she said.
His order will “define equity as the consistent and systemic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals” who “belong to underserved communities such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; LGBTQ+ persons; people with disabilities religious minorities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise affected by persistent poverty or inequality,” Rice said.
Biden will seek to “equitably allocate federal resources to empower and invest in communities of color and other underserved communities;” improve the delivery of government benefits services to ensure families “can access opportunity,” she said.
An executing order will focus on fighting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Biden will also sign an order requiring all executive branch employees to take an ethics pledge.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.