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Biden to sign 3 orders that will roll back Trump’s immigration agenda

WASHINGTON – President Biden plans to sign three executive orders on Tuesday aimed at further rolling back his predecessor’s attack on immigration and reuniting migrant children separated from their families at the Mexican border, administration officials said.

In one order, the president will direct the homeland security secretary to lead a task force that will attempt to reunite several hundred families who remain separated under former President Donald J. Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. , which aimed to discourage migration across the country’s southern border.

With two more orders, Biden will authorize a comprehensive review of Mr. Trump’s immigration policies that limited asylum, halt funding from foreign countries, made it more difficult to obtain green cards or naturalization, and slowed down the process. legal immigration to the United States. officials told reporters on Monday night in a briefing ahead of the official White House announcement on Tuesday.

The Three Orders are helping to deliver on promises made by Mr. Biden during the election campaign to overthrow Mr. Trump’s immigration program. But they also highlight the difficulty the new president faces in disentangling dozens of individual policies and regulations.

Senior administration officials said Monday evening that most of Mr Biden’s guidelines on Tuesday would not bring immediate changes. Rather, they aim to give officials in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the State Department time to assess how best to reverse the policies.

This will likely disappoint migrant advocates, who are keen to act to help people immediately. One of Mr Biden’s orders, for example, will ask officials to review a Trump-era agenda that forced asylum-seeking migrants from Central America to wait in squalid camps in Mexico.

But the order will not immediately respond to the reality that many of these migrants, including families and children, have been waiting for months in dangerous conditions.

The most important of the three orders aims to remedy the policy of family separation, which was widely condemned after Mr. Trump officially put it in place in the summer of 2018. More than 5,000 families have been separated.

Under Mr. Biden’s order, the federal government will seek to either bring the parents to the United States or return the children to parents living abroad, depending on the wishes of the families and the specifics of the country. immigration law.

Officials said this could include providing visas or other legal means of entry to parents who have been deported to their country of origin. Or it could involve returning children who live in the United States to those countries to be with their parents. They said each case would be looked at separately.

Officials said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Mr Biden’s candidate for homeland security secretary, will lead the task force. The Senate paved the way last week for a confirmation vote on Mr Mayorkas, and is expected to approve it on Tuesday. The secretary of state and the attorney general will also be on the task force, officials said.

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Biden could roll back Trump’s agenda with executive action blitz

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to trigger a series of management actions on his first day in the Oval Office, which will spur what will likely be a multi-year effort to roll out the President Trump’s national agenda and immediately signal a global shift in America’s place in the world.

In the early hours after being sworn in on the Western Front on Capitol Hill at noon on January 20, Mr Biden said he will send a letter to the United Nations saying the country will join the global effort to fight climate change, overturning Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement with more than 174 countries.

Mr. Biden’s afternoon will be busy.

He pledged that on day one he would act quickly to deal with the coronavirus pandemic by appointing a “national supply chain commander” and establishing a “pandemic testing board”, similar to the production panel in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime. He said he would restore the right of public servants to organize. He vowed to order a new fight against homelessness and to resettle more refugees fleeing the war. He pledged to drop Mr. Trump’s travel ban in predominantly Muslim countries and start calling on foreign leaders in a bid to restore trust among America’s closest allies.

“Every president wants to come out loud and start keeping their election promises before lunch on the first day,” said Dan Pfeiffer, who served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama and helped choreograph Mr. Obama’s early days. to the White House. . “Executive orders are the best way to do this.”

For Mr. Biden, who narrowly won the election in a deeply divided country, the first signals he sends as the country’s new leader will be critical. On the track, he has said on several occasions that he is campaigning as a Democrat but that he will govern “as an American”. To keep that promise, he will need to show some respect for parts of Trump’s agenda that have been fiercely supported by the more than 70 million people who did not vote for him.

“How far is he going to go?” Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator, asked Saturday on CNN, hours after Mr Biden was declared the winner. “If you want to show this, you want to work on a bipartisan basis. So you don’t go out right away and sign all the immigration decrees and bypass Congress. “

But there is no doubt that Mr Biden and members of his party are eager to systematically erase what they see as destructive policies the president has waged on the environment, immigration, health care, gay rights, commerce, tax cuts, civil rights, abortion. , race relations, military spending and more.

Part of this will require cooperation with Congress, which may remain divided next year. If Republicans retain control of the Senate, Mr. Biden’s promises to roll back Mr. Trump’s tax cuts are almost certain to meet fierce opposition from this chamber head first. Efforts to push forward a more liberal agenda on civil rights and race relations – centerpieces of Mr Biden’s speech during his campaign – may fail. And his efforts to shape the new government with appointments could be limited by the need to get approval from a Republican Senate.

But Mr. Biden may be able to accomplish some of his goals with nothing more than a stroke of the pen. Mr Trump has largely failed to negotiate with House Democrats during his four years in office, leaving him with no choice but to use executive actions to advance his agenda . Mr. Biden can use the same tools to reverse them.

Past presidents have tried to do just that, but not always with success.

On his first full day in the White House in 2009, Mr. Obama issued an executive order on presidential records and a second on ethics that, among other provisions, attempted to bar members of his administration from lobbying on the federal government for two years after they leave. Ethics watchers later complained that some officials had found ways around the restrictions.

The next day, Obama ordered an end to government torture, responding to outcry over the use of harsh interrogation measures by his predecessor. He also ordered the closure of the terrorist detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba – which members of Congress continued to block when he left office eight years later.

Mr. Trump also acted quickly. In the first hours after his swearing-in, Mr. Trump issued an executive order promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act and directing the government to “take all steps in accordance with the law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the law”.

In the week that followed, Mr. Trump issued immigration decrees, calling for changes to asylum procedures at the border, increasing deportations of undocumented immigrants and banning travel from several predominantly Muslim countries – an order that caused chaos at several airports as border officials struggled to figure out who it applied to.

Some decrees have become almost automatic at the start of a new administration. Mr. Biden is almost certain to act immediately to repeal the so-called global gag rule, which prohibits federal funding of foreign organizations that provide or even talk about abortion. The rule, also known as Mexico City politics, has been a political ping-pong ball since Ronald Reagan was president and is generally only in place under Republican administrations. Mr. Trump reinstated him on his first working day on the job.

But Mr. Biden signaled that his top priority would be to demonstrate a much more muscular federal approach to the pandemic than Mr. Trump’s leave-it-it-yourself strategy.

Aides said he would use the power of his office to invoke the Defense Production Act – the Korean War-era law that allows the president to order companies to manufacture products needed for defense national – in order to build supplies more aggressively than Mr. Trump.

While Mr Biden would like to see a national mask warrant, his advisers have concluded he does not have the legal authority to impose one. He will therefore try to increase the wearing of the mask by other means. He has previously said that as president he will demand masks on all federal property, an executive order that could have wide reach and is expected to come in the early hours or days of his presidency.

In addition to making masks mandatory in federal buildings, Mr Biden said he would need them for “all interstate transportation.”

The president-elect has also repeatedly derided Mr. Trump’s lack of ethical standards, accusing him of carrying out a massive attack on Washington’s standards and traditions. Mr Biden’s response to this will likely take the form of an ethical pledge to impose strict new requirements on those who serve in his government.

“The Trump administration has shredded these standards,” Mr. Biden’s campaign wrote on his website. “On day one, Biden will issue an Ethical Commitment, building on and enhancing the Obama-Biden administration’s engagement, to ensure that every member of his administration is focused day in and day out on the best results for the American people, and nothing else. “

In addition to joining the climate deal, Biden also made it clear that he would immediately begin using the levers of executive power to restore Mr. Obama’s environmental regulatory regime that Mr. Trump has systematically shredded during his tenure. .

This will likely include a swift rescinding of an executive order Mr. Trump issued early in his administration, which himself called for the revocation of all climate change regulations and the promotion of fossil fuel development – and to replace it with one that declares the Biden administration’s intention to cut. greenhouse gases that warm the planet.

“The revocation of the decrees can be effected immediately,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, which has studied what climate regulation might look like in a Biden administration. “This is a big problem because executive decrees give direction to administrative agencies on how to exercise their discretion and on administrative priorities.”

Mr. Biden could also move quickly to restore national monuments that Mr. Trump shrunk soon after taking office; stop the Trump administration’s expedited reviews of fossil fuel projects such as pipelines; and reverse a 2017 order to “encourage exploration and energy production” offshore, including the outer continental shelf.

Efforts to help poor communities – often located near toxic polluting sites and bearing the brunt of the consequences of climate change – could also be undertaken from the White House. This could include executive orders establishing an advisory council on environmental justice that can coordinate policies between agencies; create screening tools to better understand environmental disparities across the country; and increase pollution monitoring in frontline communities.

Passing larger parts of Mr. Biden’s environmental agenda, like phasing out fossil fuel emissions from the energy sector by 2035, would almost certainly force Congress to pass clean energy specific law. , most likely in the form of a mandate that an increasing percentage of electricity produced in the United States will be produced by zero emission sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and maybe nuclear power.

Thomas J. Pyle, chairman of the Institute for Energy Research, an organization that supports the use of fossil fuels, said that “if history is a guide,” Republicans likely wouldn’t support any kind of mandate.

“He certainly doesn’t have a mandate for his climate plan,” Pyle said. “He will be forced to abide by carefully crafted decrees and regulations.”

Sheryl Stolberg contributed reporting.

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Trump supporters block highways as election tensions roll on streets

“Following an election,” I tell the Proud Boys and Antifa and other militias and armed groups, Atlanta doesn’t want your madness, ”second-round candidate Reverend Robert M. Franklin Jr. of elections to serve the last month of Representative John Lewis’s term in Congress, said in a sermon.

In Harrisburg, Pa., Annie Bravacos, 17, said she had felt a creeping fear about the election, and since she and her friends were too young to vote, they decided to apply on a Sunday after- rainy midday.

“It’s easy to be terrified about it, so that’s what makes us feel better, I guess,” she says. “It’s, you know, we’re actually doing something, even if it’s small.

In Ashland, Ky., Mark Carlisle, whose blue van flies two American flags and plays patriotic songs to a speaker, said he was more concerned about ballot tampering than anything else. in his local polling station in a school.

“My ballot is disrupted? Yes. I’m afraid to go somewhere? No, ”said Mr. Carlisle, a 58-year-old building contractor, explaining why he refused to vote by mail or vote earlier.

In Durham, North Carolina, Garrett Langley Henson was updating his website last week when an unknown number appeared on his phone. When Mr. Langley Henson answered, a pre-recorded voice told him to “take a step back, stay home, stay safe” and then hung up. He received the same call, but from a different number, the next day.