Biden Issues At Least 15 Executive Orders and Actions on Day One

Posted 43 days ago


Since being inaugurated as president late yesterday morning, Joe Biden has been busy dismantling Donald Trump's executive orders. So far, the Biden administration has already undone several Trump-era immigration policies (including Trump's moratorium on immigrants from certain African and/or predominantly Muslim countries), Trump's 1776 Commission, and his ban on diversity training.

In one executive order issued yesterday, Biden revoked Trump's March 2017, September 2017, April 2018, and January 2020 immigration and travel orders and instructed the secretary of state to tell all embassies and consulates "to resume visa processing in a manner consistent with the revocation of the Executive Order and Proclamations specified."

"There is no real doubt that Biden has the power to reverse the travel bans by executive action alone," writes Volokh Conspiracy blogger Ilya Somin. "If you buy the Trump Administration's position on their legal status, they were decisions entirely left to the discretion of the president, which means a new president can repeal them any time he wants to, and for almost any reason….If you believe, as I and other critics do, that the travel bans were unconstitutional, it is even more clear Biden has the authority to repeal them. Indeed, in that event, he would have a legal duty to do so."

In another order, Biden revoked Trump's July 2019 order requiring census takers to collect citizenship info and Trump's July 2020 order excluding undocumented immigrants from congressional apportionment counts based on census data.

Notice of more immigration policy changes came via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In a Wednesday memo, Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske instructed Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to "conduct a review of policies and practices concerning immigration enforcement" and also announced new interim policies, "including a 100-day pause on certain removals."

DHS will still focus on apprehending and deporting people crossing the border illegally and anyone deemed to be a potential threat to national security or public safety, the memo stresses. The 100-day pause on deportations does not apply to immigrants "engaged in [or] suspected of terrorism or espionage, or [who] otherwise poses a danger to the national security," people who were "not physically present in the United States before November 1, 2020," immigrants who "voluntarily agreed to waive any rights to remain in the United States," or anyone else the acting director of ICE determines can be removed.

DHS also announced on Wednesday that it would suspend Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program enrollments. "The Trump administration's controversial 'remain in Mexico' policy requir[ed] asylum seekers trying to enter the U. S. from the southern border to wait in Mexico for American court hearings," notes NPR. "The program has led to roughly 60,000 migrants getting sent back across the border since MPP was first implemented in January 2019."

As of January 21, DHS "will cease adding individuals into the program," the department said in a short statement. "However, current COVID-19 non-essential travel restrictions, both at the border and in the region, remain in place at this time. All current MPP participants should remain where they are, pending further official information from U. S. government officials."

Reversing these Trump immigration restrictions is all great. Biden also issued a memorandum telling Homeland Security to take action "to preserve and fortify" the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Some of Biden's actions simply undo executive overreach by the Trump administration and can be applauded. In one such order, Biden disbanded Trump's "1776 Commission" on "patriotic education."

Other new Biden orders and memorandums are murkier. In an "Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government," Biden rev... (Read more)

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