President-elect Joe Biden will sign 17 executive actions and orders in the first hours of his presidency on Wednesday.
The moves are expected to restore a number of Obama-era policies and reverse some of what the Biden team calls “the gravest damages” of the Trump administration.
Biden is expected to sign the executive actions from the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon after the inauguration, which is set to lay out a “forward-looking” vision for his presidency.
“He wants to roll up his sleeves and get to work as quickly as possible,” incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, adding that some of that work will be to overturn the actions of his predecessor, President Trump, to fulfill Biden’s goals of “moving the country forward.”
In his first actions as president, Biden is set to roll back and reverse a number of Trump’s policies and directives.
End of the wall
Biden will declare an “immediate termination” of funding for the border wall construction — putting an end to a key Trump campaign and administration promise to “build a wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border. The move will direct an “immediate pause” in wall construction and will “determine the best way to redirect funds that were diverted by the prior administration to fund wall construction.”
Biden will also sign an executive order that revoking Trump’s previous order that directed aggressive immigration enforcement. The Biden team said that the move will allow for the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to set “civil immigration enforcement policies that best protect the American people” and that are “in line with our values and priorities.”
“The Biden administration is going to have a very different approach to regional migration,” incoming White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said, adding that there will be a “special emphasis” to address the “root causes of migration in the region.”
“The Biden administration is going to have a very different approach to regional migration.”
Sullivan added that Biden was “committed to rebuilding the nation’s asylum system.”
Biden is also set to “preserve and fortify” the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people who came to the United States as children to request deferred immigration enforcement and work authorization for a renewal period of two years. The Trump administration had sought to end the program since September 2017, mounting a number of federal legal battles.
Next, Biden is set to sign an executive order that will put an end to Trump’s “Muslim ban,” which Sullivan said was rooted in “religious animus and xenophobia.”
Trump, in 2017, signed an executive order suspending entry into the U.S. for individuals from mostly Muslim countries: Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iran. The travel ban was updated later that year to include North Korea and Venezuela. The Trump administration expanded the ban again in January 2020 to include an additional six countries.
The Biden administration’s reversal will repeal Trump’s order and instructs the State Department to restart visa processing for affected countries in an effort to “restore fairness and remedy the harms caused by the bans.”
Sullivan also said Biden’s action would strengthen screening and vetting for travelers by “enhancing information sharing” with foreign governments, while also directing a further review of other Trump administration “extreme vetting” practices.
As for the census, Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday to revoke the Trump administration’s plan to exclude non-citizens from the census and apportionment of congressional representatives. Biden’s move will also ensure the Census Bureau “has time” to complete “an accurate population count” for each state, which he will then present to Congress.
Biden also will take action Wednesday to re-engage with the World Health Organization, after Trump’s decision to withdraw in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Biden administration will “work with the WHO and our partners to strengthen and reform the organization, support the COVID-19 health and humanitarian response, and advance global health and security.”
The Biden team said Dr. Anthony Fauci would lead the Biden administration’s delegation at the WHO Executive Board meeting this week.
Biden is also expected to restore the White House’s National Security Council’s pandemic unit, which Trump disbanded early in his administration.