President Biden’s first week in office shows a shift in policy direction

An overlook at the 33 executive orders signed by the Biden administration since Jan. 20.

Natalie Willis, News Editor

After being sworn into office on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden has reversed several Trump-era regulations. These executive actions taken by Biden over his first six days established changes to immigration policies, environmental protections and most recently scrapped a Trump administration policy on the transgender military ban. The United States will soon be able to provide 1.5 million people with the COVID-19 vaccine daily.  

COVID-19 NATIONAL STRATEGY 

On Jan. 21, Biden released his strategy to “beat the COVID-19 pandemic” in conjunction with 10 executive orders released to combat the virus. His strategy outlines seven goals that seek to garner trust with the American people, instigate an effective vaccination campaign, mitigate the spread and begin to safely re-open the economy. 

One of his orders reinstated the COVID-19 travel restrictions which prevent non-U.S. citizens from entry if they have recently visited South Africa and placed broader restrictions on non-U.S. citizens traveling from Britain, Brazil and a majority of Europe.

Registered nurse of the San Dimas Medical Group Rachel Western explained that although Biden’s travel restrictions were necessary, she hopes he will also bring relief to healthcare workers themselves by providing better stimulus packages and fair compensation. 

“Over the next four years I’d like to see better compensation for healthcare workers and improved distribution of the vaccine,” Western stated. 

CLIMATE CHANGE 

In fulfillment of a major campaign promise, Biden placed the U.S. back into the Paris Climate Agreement on climate change which aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. 

“For the first time in American history, America became independent of foreign sources of oil under the Trump administration,” said associate professor of political science Scott Waller. “And the Biden administration is turning that back and moving toward a clean energy emphasis.”  

Along with a variety of actions to “advance environmental justice,” Biden canceled the lease to the Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,200 mile pipeline that if completed would carry crude oil from Canada to the U.S. This order also paused oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

GENDER IDENTITY 

Biden removed the ban that restricted transgenders from serving in the military and expanded protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. 

IMMIGRATION 

Biden revised Trump-era immigration policies such as a policy that punished communities protecting undocumented immigrants and signed an order to incorporate undocumented immigrants into the U.S. census. 

FACING CRITICISM 

According to Waller, Biden’s administration is facing similar criticisms to those the Trump administration received in its first days, because governing affects people’s lives. The repeal of the transgender ban in the military and recession from the Keystone XL pipeline in particular, have generated controversy. 

“I always tell my students this: The easy part of American politics is campaigning, the hard part is governing,” Waller said.

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