On day one, Biden signs orders reversing Trump’s climate, virus, and immigration policies

US President-elect Joe Biden plans to start his new administration on Wednesday with orders to restore the United States to the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization, assistants said.

Biden will sign 17 orders and measures just hours after being sworn in as US leader to break away from the resignation of President Donald Trump and pave the way for immigration, the environment, the fight against Covid-19 and the economy, they said.

During the first day of the move, he will end Trump’s much-anticipated ban on visitors from several majority Muslim countries and stop the construction of the wall that Trump ordered at the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration, the aides said.

He will also put a worm mandate on federal real estate to stop the spread of Covid-19; restore protection of valuable nature reserves removed by Trump; and seeks freezes on expulsions and protection for millions left on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He also plans to send a bill to Congress to modernize immigration policy and give millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country a path to citizenship that the Trump administration denied.

Biden’s staff said he wanted to get started given the deep health and economic challenges facing the country.

Biden “will take action – not only to reverse the Trump administration’s most serious damage – but also to start moving our country forward,” the assistants said in a statement.

“These measures are bold, begin the work of following up on the elected president’s promises to the American people and, more importantly, fall within the president’s constitutional role.”

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New approach for Covid

Many of the measures will take government policy back to where it was on January 19, 2017 – the last day of the Barack Obama-Joe Biden administration, before Trump stepped into office and took a destructive ball to many of their initiatives.

Jeff Zients, the new president’s leader in the fight against the pandemic, said Biden would start by setting up an office for the Covid-19 response in the White House.

A 100-day “masking challenge” will be led by a presidential order to wear masks in all federal real estate and activities, setting the standard for private companies, individuals and communities to follow, Zients said.

Wednesday “starts a new day, a new, different approach to dealing with the country’s response to the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

This includes reversing Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization.

To underscore Biden’s decision, Zients said, leading US coronavirus expert Anthony Fauci will lead a delegation to attend the WHO board meeting on Thursday.

“America’s withdrawal from the international arena has hindered the progress of the global response and left us more vulnerable to future pandemics,” he said.

Gina McCarthy, the new administration’s top climate adviser, said it was important to return to the Paris Agreement in 2016 to combat climate change as a key principle in Biden’s administration policy.

Biden will reverse Trump’s decision to ease emissions and efficiency standards and lift the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a major project that would bring relatively highly polluting Canadian oil to the United States.

“Today’s climate regulations will begin to put the United States back on track, a foundation we need to restore American leadership, which will help position our nation to be the global leader in clean energy and jobs,” McCarthy said.

Other measures by the new president will require an intergovernmental, proactive equality effort for minority groups in terms of employment, contracts and services.

“The President-elect has promised to eradicate systemic racism from our institutions,” said Susan Rice, his director of domestic policy.

(AFP)