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President Biden Issued 17 Executive Orders and Directives on His First Day in Office

Yesterday, within a few hours of his inauguration, President Joe Biden signed 17 directives and executive orders, many of which were aimed at undoing the harm left behind by the Trump administration.

At the top of his priority list was racial justice and LGBTQ+ equality actions. Importantly, Biden will end the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, which announced a report this week that told a false narrative of the role of slavery in the US. The President also reversed Trump’s executive order that limited federal agencies and institutions from holding diversity and inclusion training. 

Biden expressed that a “robust, interagency” effort to eliminate systemic racism from federal agencies is a top priority, and designated head of his Domestic Policy Council Susan E. Rice as the leader of this mission. This order mandates agencies to review and report on equity within their institutions within 200 days, including creating plans to remove barriers and increase opportunity to marginalized people. Included in this order is the mission to ensure that people of all backgrounds have equal access to federal government services, benefits, and resources and initiates a data working group and a study of new methods to evaluate these federal efforts.

In another order, Biden reinforced TItle VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, mandating the federal government not to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, which reverses an action by the Trump administration. 

The Trump administration worked for years to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects immigrants brought to the US as children, “Dreamers”, from deportation. In yesterday’s executive order, Biden bolstered the program and called on Congress to create legislation to provide permanent status and a path to citizenship for those immigrants.

Biden also demonstrated a commitment to reversing Trump’s policies that harmed the environment. Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a move that not only protects the environment but also shows commitment to the Indigenous communities and activists who have advocated for this action for years. 

The slew of executive orders that Biden signed yesterday represent a commitment to marginalized communities, especially people of color, immigrants, Indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sources: New York Times 1/20/21; Feminist Newswire 1/19/21; New York Times 1/20/21

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