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Biden to kick off presidency by signing 17 executive actions

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President-elect Biden will sign over a dozen executive actions in his first hours as commander-in-chief, immediately halting the travel ban on countries with heightened terror concerns, as well as construction of the border wall.

After being sworn in at noon ET at the US Capitol, the 46th president will make his way to the White House, where he will get right to work in the Oval Office undoing parts of President Trump’s legacy.

Of the 17 executive actions, 15 will be executive orders, meaning that they will be published in the Federal Register and are legally binding. Executive actions, by contrast, are more often symbolic efforts to enact change.

Incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday evening that the actions would be signed by this afternoon, saying “He wants to roll up his sleeves and get to work as quickly as possible.”

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Biden’s National Security Adviser nominee Jake Sullivan addressed the changes to the federal government’s stance on the border wall and travel ban to reporters on a call Tuesday.

“This ban, which restricted issuance of visas to individuals from many Muslim and African countries, was nothing less than a stain on our nation,” Sullivan said, “It was rooted in xenophobia and religious animus and President-elect Biden has been clear that we will not turn our back on our values with discriminatory bans on entry to the United States.”

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Donald Trump shows an executive order on immigration in the Oval Office of the White House
Donald Trump shows an executive order on immigration in the Oval Office of the White House
AFP via Getty Images

Of the border wall, a campaign promise from President Trump in 2016, Sullivan said that Biden’s executive order would “direct an immediate pause in wall construction projects to allow a close review of the legal basis for the funding, as well as the contract methods being used, and it will determine the best ways to redirect funds that were diverted by the Trump administration to fund wall construction.”

Other actions include rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Trump withdrew from in 2017, as well as the World Health Organization, which Trump withdrew from due to their botched handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden will also sign orders extending moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, and deferrals on student loan payments.

The incoming commander-in-chief is slated to sign orders that will halt construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, count non-citizens in the US census, strengthen workplace discrimination protections based on sex and gender and call on Congress to grant permanent status to Dreamers as part of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump challenged in court.

(Left to right) Douglas Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Dr. Jill Biden and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden attend a memorial service to honor the nearly 400,000 American victims of the COVID-19 pandemic
(Left to right) Douglas Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Dr. Jill Biden and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden attend a memorial service to honor the nearly 400,000 American victims of the COVID-19 pandemic
Getty Images

In the first hours of his presidency in Jan. 2017, President Trump signed a single executive order focused on “minimizing the economic burden” of the Affordable Care Act as his administration began its work on repealing it.

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Additionally, then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memo on the president’s first night in office directing an immediate “regulatory freeze,” preventing federal agencies from implementing or issuing any new regulations.

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