The first 100 days of President-elect Joe Biden’s term of office are expected to be particularly busy, and it is likely that he will make dismantling a series of presidential actions by President Donald Trump a top priority.
The coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. economy, climate change and racial justice are high on Biden’s list of post-inauguration actions. While much of these measures will involve the reversal of measures implemented under Trump, including increases in corporate taxes, the most likely Trump executive orders that Biden will override are those dealing with immigration.
On “day one”, Biden plans to sign an executive order to end “Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban,” the former vice president said during a virtual Muslim Advocates event on October 14.
In January 2017, Trump signed an implementing decree suspending the entry of persons from seven countries with a Muslim majority population. The government defended the suspension on the grounds that the countries presented “heightened concerns about terrorism,” but the move was quickly criticized as xenophobic and spent years in legal battles. In June 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a third version of the executive order, restricting travel from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea.
In addition to lifting the “Muslim ban,” as critics have called Trump’s executive order, Biden may give priority to revoking the President’s executive order on border security and immigration enforcement. As part of the January 2017 campaign, the Department of Homeland Security will be able to identify and allocate funds for the southern border wall, an important issue in Trump’s 2016 campaign.
On his campaign Web site, Biden said he would use federal funds for “intelligent border enforcement efforts” rather than “building a wall” that “will do little to deter criminals and cartels that try to exploit our borders.
The border enforcement and immigration order also limited the humanitarian probation of undocumented immigrants to a “case-by-case” basis.
Part of Trump’s presidency was devoted to reversing the actions of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump ran in 2016 with a promise to end the program, and in September 2017 he revoked Obama’s Executive Memorandum that created DACA. As with the “Muslim ban”, the termination of DACA led to long legal battles. In June, the Supreme Court upheld the program, although it kept the door open for further challenges because the decision was based on the Trump administration’s failure to have a “reasonable explanation for its actions” as required by procedural rules.
Biden praised the Supreme Court decision as a “victory” and said that as president he would “immediately work to make it permanent by sending a bill to Congress on the first day of my administration.
Biden could also sign executive orders on 100 public health and environmental regulations that Trump has withdrawn, the Washington Post said. He also plans to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Convention, which America officially left on Wednesday, and the World Health Organization. Trump had decided that America would leave the WHO because it was too strongly influenced by China. The official withdrawal is expected to take effect in 2021, but is expected to be stopped by the Biden administration.
It is unclear to what extent the president-elect will have to implement his policies on the instructions of the executive branch. The Democrats have maintained their majority in the House of Representatives, and two runoff elections in Georgia could allow them to take control of the Senate. Even if they only have one seat and the chamber is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, Senator Kamala Harris, as vice president, can vote with a tie. Since Congress and the executive branch are under Democratic control, Biden would be in a strong position to get legislation passed in Congress.
However, if the Democrats lose both seats in Georgia and the Republicans retain control of the Senate, Biden’s legislative agenda could be blocked, requiring executive orders from the executive branch