Joe Biden plans to start his presidency by signing a flurry of executive orders over a 10-day blitz that seeks to reverse several key policies enacted by his predecessor, President Trump, while taking “urgent action” in addressing “four overlapping and compounding crises,” according to a memo laying out the early days of the new administration.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff on Saturday sent the memo to incoming White House senior staff outlining the actions Biden is planning to take during the first 10 days of his presidency, through the means of signing a “dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet agencies.”
Dubbed “Overview of First Ten Days,” the memo sent just days before Jan. 20th inauguration declares “four overlapping and compounding crises” — the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis that the Biden Administration says “demand[s] urgent action.”
“We face four overlapping and compounding crises: the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis. All of these crises demand urgent action,” Klain wrote in the memo. “In his first ten days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world.”
According to the memo, Biden plans to take “immediate action” in “addressing these crises and build back better,” with the slew of actions that will “start moving our country forward,” as well as quickly “reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration.”
“These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises,” Klain said. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward.”
After being sworn in Wednesday, Biden intends to begin day one by signing roughly a dozen executive orders seeking to reverse or end Trump’s policies. The sweeping set of executive actions will rescind President Trump’s “travel ban” to several Muslim-majority countries, rejoining the Paris climate accord, and launch a “100 Day Masking Challenge” that will impose a mask mandate on federal property and during interstate travel.
Biden will also sign orders directing the Education Department to extend a pause on federal student loan payments and interest as well as taking action extending the ban on evictions and foreclosures for those struggling as a result of the pandemic.
Shortly after signing the dozen executive actions, Biden will unveil his first piece of legislation — an aggressive immigration reform focusing on three overarching initiatives — path to citizenship, provisions to address the causes of migration, and border enforcement by using technology for security measures.
The proposed legislation is expected to run hundreds of pages, with the heart of the measure calling for a faster pathway to citizenship in recent years for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Under the plan, the eight-year path to citizenship would offer undocumented immigrants to become eligible for legal permanent resident status after five years, and for U.S. citizenship after an additional three years.
Specific immigrant groups, including recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), undocumented essential workers, and beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are automatically granted green cards and would eligible to apply for citizenship in five years.
Biden’s proposed legislation, which he plans to send to Congress on his first day, also includes the expansion of refugee admissions, increasing foreign aid to ravaged Central American countries, provide safe opportunities for immigrants fleeing violence, and increase prosecutions of those trafficking drugs and human smugglers. It does not contain any provisions linking the proposal with additional enforcement and security measures, an effort to gain Republicans support for the plan.
“The president-elect made the case for his first major legislative proposal earlier this week, and will continue to advance legislative solutions to critical problems, such as in the immigration bill he will send to Congress on his first day in office,” Klain wrote. “He will fulfill his promises to restore dignity to our immigration system and our border policies. And, President-elect Biden will demonstrate that America is back and take action to restore America’s place in the world.”
On Biden’s second day in office, he plans to sign a flurry of executive orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak. It includes presidential directives on safely re-opening schools and businesses, expand COVID testing, protect workers and clarify public health standards.
On his third day, Biden will direct agencies to take unspecified immediate action in delivering economic relief to those suffering from the economic costs of the pandemic.
In the second week of his presidency, Biden will issue executive orders to help advocacy groups locate and reunite migrant families separate at the U.S.-Mexico border during the “zero-tolerance” border crackdown. He will also take action on imposing his “Buy American” provisions for federal purchasing, as well as “significant early actions to advance equity and support communities of color and other under-served communities,” with actions addressing criminal justice reforms, racial equality measures, climate and access to health care.
“These actions are just the start of our work,” Klain writes. “Much more will need to be done to fight COVID-19, build our economy back better, combat systemic racism and inequality, and address the existential threat of the climate crisis. But by February 1, America will be moving in the right direction on all four of these challenges — and more — thanks to President-elect Joe Biden’s leadership.”
The memorandum is sparse on details regarding the executive actions statement of intent, but notes that Biden is spacing out the executive actions over the first 10 days “in order to highlight the actions the president-elect is taking.”
The executive actions will come in multiple forms, including executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet agencies.