President Joe Biden, just after delivering his inaugural address, declared he would head to the White House to “get right to work” on his agenda.
Mr Biden, in his first tweet as president of the United States from the @POTUS account, tweeted:
“There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face,” Mr Biden said. “That’s why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.”
And he meant it.
Mr Biden is expected today to sign a slew of executive orders undoing a number of decisions made by his predecessor Donald Trump.
One of them will come at an enormous cost – about US$2 trillion (AU$2.6 trillion).
Mr Biden will sign an order putting an end to what he describes as “the Muslim ban” – which refers to the travel bans placed on predominantly Muslim and African countries due to national security concerns.
The 2017 list, which included countries such as Iran, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, saw multiple revisions – including the addition of Venezuela and North Korea – and was expanded in 2020 to include a number of African countries.
The initial 2017 ban saw protests at airports when it was implemented in the early days of the Trump administration.
The Biden transition team said the order would restart visa processing and to “swiftly develop a proposal to restore fairness and remedy the harms caused by the bans, especially for individuals stuck in the waiver process and those who had immigrant visas denied.”
Next, Biden is expected to sign an executive order that will roll back Trump’s environmental actions — including the revocation of Trump presidential proclamations and other actions signed that McCarthy claims “do not serve the U.S. national interest.”
And one of the most significant measures will see Mr Biden will sign the instrument to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
The Trump administration officially left the agreement last year. The Paris Agreement was a global pact created during the Obama administration to combat climate change.
At the time, Mr Trump described the climate deal as an “example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries”.
He went on to blast the “draconian financial and economic burdens” the agreement placed on the US, before claiming it wasn’t fair to businesses, taxpayers and workers.
On the recently set up Biden-Harris transition website, climate change is listed as one of Mr Biden’s top priorities.
“President-elect Biden is leading the world to address the climate emergency and leading through the power of example. Biden knows how to stand with America’s allies, stand up to adversaries, and level with any world leader about what must be done,” the website states.
“He will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change – he will go much further than that. He is working to lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets.”
Mr Biden has been outspoken in his support for climate action, so a recommitment to the Paris Agreement won’t come as much of a surprise.
It will trigger work on implementing his four-year plan to tackle climate change in the US at a mammoth cost of US$2 trillion (AU$2.6 trillion).
Separately, Mr Biden is ending construction of the wall at the southern border – one of Trump’s signature policies, which has seen 450 miles of wall built since 2017.
Biden has promised to stop wall construction, even though Trump officials said that an additional 560km is funded.
The order directs “an immediate pause” on projects to allow what the Biden team calls a “close review” of the legality of the funding for the wall, and how to redirect funds that were put to the wall by the Trump administration.
Moving away from Trump policies and onto Obama-era policies, Biden will be signing an order strengthening the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
It grants protection from deportation for illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. Mr Trump had attempted to reverse the order but was rebuffed by the Supreme Court.
Other orders include one to revoke the Trump administration’s plan to exclude non-citizens from the census and the apportionment of congressional seats, and another to extend the Deferred Enforced Departure designation for Liberians in the country until June 2022.
Biden will also sign an executive order 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.”
Biden also will take action Wednesday to re-engage with the World Health Organisation, 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 organisation, support the COVID-19 health and humanitarian response, and advance global health and security.”
Parts of this story originally appeared on Fox News and the New York Post and are reproduced here with permission