By McKenzie Collins
Nation and World Editor
President Joe Biden jump-started his presidency today by signing 17 executive actions, working to reverse the decisions of the previous administration while also establishing several avenues of Covid-19 relief.
According to CBS News, three of the actions serve as responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among these orders is a federal mask mandate, coupled with a request for all Americans to participate in the “100-Day Challenge,” which involves wearing a mask for the next 100 days.
Biden’s actions have also served to reimplement the "Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense" committee that acted as an Obama-era pandemic preparation team.
An additional two actions were focused on financial relief through the prevention of eviction and foreclosure through Mar. 31 and by putting student loan payments on hold through Sept. 30.
Biden also signed two actions advocating for environmental sustainability. These actions will allow the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement, rejoin the World Health Organization and halt the construction of the Keystone pipeline.
The majority of the executive actions revolved around human-rights issues and immigration conflicts. This new administration will work to unravel racial inequality within the federal government by reviewing the distribution of federal funds within communities of color.
President Trump’s executive order to exclude undocumented Americans from the U.S. census will be reversed, and protections against race and sexuality-based discrimination will be broadened to include members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Biden has also strengthened the Dreamers program, asking Congress to pave a path to citizenship for undocumented Americans who were brought to the country as children. While the Dreamers faced deportation amidst the Trump administration’s strict border policies, the Biden-Harris administration aims to dismantle these instabilities.
Also focusing on immigration policies, Trump’s 2017 travel ban on countries with high Muslim populations such as Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, in addition to his 2020 ban on Eritrea, Nigeria, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, and Tanzania will be disassembled. Trump’s changes to the rigid enforcement of ICE protocols and the construction of a wall along the southern border will also be stopped.
In one of his last three orders, Biden plans to extend the “deferred enforcement departure” which would have forced Liberians who have been living in America for years to leave amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
They will now extend their stay until June 30, 2022. Additionally, last minute actions by the Trump administration will be paused and Biden will implement an ethics doctrine to be signed by every appointed member of the executive branch.