Here’s a Primer on Joe Biden’s Expected Executive Orders

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Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is planning to sign several executive orders to undo the Trump administration’s policies. He is likely to do so within his first few days as president. Here’s what to expect in Joe Biden’s executive orders.

Overturning the Muslim ban

In 2017, the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban policy went into full effect. The travel ban, commonly called the Muslim ban, barred incoming travelers and immigrants from five Muslim-majority countries in addition to North Korea and Venezuela. The policy included Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Iran. Approximately 98 percent of people from the banned countries who applied for a visa were rejected.

On the first day of Biden’s presidency, the President-elect plans to “immediately rescind” President Trump’s Muslim ban. He announced his support for the No Ban Act, which House Democrats introduced earlier this year, and vowed to sign the policy into law.

Restoring DACA

The Trump administration has attempted to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a program designed to protect immigrants from deportation after being brought to the country as children. The Trump administration also refused new DACA applicants despite court orders.

On the first day of Biden’s presidency, the President-elect plans to issue an executive order to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million migrants currently living in the United States. Biden also plans to grant citizenship to DREAMers, who comprise a large portion of the people that DACA covers. Additionally, Biden has pledged to make the DACA program permanent.

Re-entering the Paris climate agreement

On November 4, 2019, the Trump administration began to formally withdraw from the Paris climate accord, an agreement in which 197 countries have promised to reduce their carbon emissions. On November 4, 2020, the United States officially withdrew from the accord. One of Biden’s promises is to reenter the United States immediately into the Paris climate agreement through an executive order. 

Rejoin the World Health Organization

On July 8, 2020, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO) due to baseless allegations that WHO covered up COVID-19 information in China. The WHO withdrawal process takes one year and would fully go into effect next July. Biden plans to re-enter the United States into the WHO, which coordinates international health policies and prevents the spread of infectious diseases, to cancel the Trump administration’s ongoing withdrawal.

What else is the incoming Biden administration planning?

President-elect Biden will be announcing new appointees to his administration’s senior leadership. On November 11, Biden appointed Ron Klain, a former Democratic chief of staff and former president Barack Obama’s White House Ebola Response Coordinator, as his White House chief of staff. Biden described Klain as an invaluable adviser who worked on the 2009 economic crisis.

Biden has also appointed Shawn Skelly, a transgender veteran, to be part of the transition team at the Department of Defense. Skelly worked in the Obama administration in multiple roles, including Technology and Logistics at the Department of Defense and Director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the Department of Transportation. 

Skelly’s appointment is notable since the Trump administration has banned transgender people from serving in the military. Biden has said he also plans to overturn this ban via executive order after he is sworn in as president on January 20.

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