A look at Biden’s initial executive orders

Action on the pandemic has finally been taken a year too late, immigration policies look likely to offer illegal immigrants an easier path to citizenship, and steps towards more equal rights have been taken. 

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Saul Loeb, Getty Images

President Biden takes the oath at his inauguration on January 20, 2021.

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has only been in office for less than a week. Yet he’s been a busy man, already introducing a spate of executive orders (eighteen to be exact) aiming to get this country back on track. 

 One of the most notable ones happened on January 21, when Biden invoked the Defense Protection Act to combat the ever worsening pandemic. The DPA will be used to increase the nation’s supply of tests, PPE, and vaccine doses by urging companies to speed up production. This is pivotal in Biden’s strategy to fight COVID-19, and for the country’s sake, it has to work out.

 Staying on the topic of the pandemic, Biden has required social distancing and mask usage on all federal property, and is urging (but not forcing) all Americans to mask up. While I like that he’s already combatting the pandemic, a nationwide mask mandate should be enforced; it’s the best way of halting COVID’s silent rampage before the general populace can be vaccinated in full swing.

 Biden also canceled the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, reinstating funding and showing that the US is ready to work with the rest of the world to combat the coronavirus. The US delegation will be headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

 DACA (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals) and the Dreamers that have benefited from it can breathe a massive sigh of relief as an order has bolstered the program, calling on Congress to provide permanent status and a path to citizenship for said Dreamers. Biden has also ended the Muslim ban (which blocked travel from the US to several predominantly Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East) and halted construction of the border wall.

 Climate change has been an integral part of Biden’s platform, and some of the executive orders address this directly, as one would expect. The US is rejoining the Paris Accords in thirty days, reversing Trump’s withdrawal from said accords in 2019 (this again showing a renewed American willingness to cooperate with our allies abroad). The permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline has been revoked and rollbacks for vehicle emissions standards have been revoked. 

 This is a clear step in the right direction on climate change, which is a breath of fresh air after relative inaction on it over the past four years. 

 The 1776 Commission (a Trump creation) has ended, as has another Trump order which limited the ability of federal agencies and other institutions to hold diversity and inclusion training. Action that weakened Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (this requiring that the government not discriminate on sexual orientation or gender identity) has been revoked as well.  Student loan interest and payments will be paused through the end of September (finally, some action!) and the nationwide moratorium on evictions will be extended through at least the end of March.

 That’s a lot of notable action taken in only two days in office. While some of these actions can be seen as inadequate (especially the student loan interest pause; there have been calls for the President to remove student loan debt entirely), most will have a positive impact on the United States and our allies. Action on the pandemic has finally been taken a year too late, immigration policies look likely to offer illegal immigrants an easier path to citizenship, and steps towards more equal rights have been taken. 

 The future finally looks bright for America after four downtrodden, bleak years.