Photo of Vice President Joe Biden visiting Israel, March 2016 (U.S. Embassy of Jerusalem), Illustration of Biden (Sebastian Mino-Bucheli / Golden Gate Xpress) (Sebastian Mino-Bucheli)
Photo of Vice President Joe Biden visiting Israel, March 2016 (U.S. Embassy of Jerusalem), Illustration of Biden (Sebastian Mino-Bucheli / Golden Gate Xpress)

Sebastian Mino-Bucheli

First 100

January 20, 2021

First 100: Biden’s Cabinet

As President Biden continues to adjust to the presidency, he continues to await the confirmation of his Cabinet – a body consisting of advisers to the president, all of who head their respective departments at the nomination of the president. Biden’s Cabinet, if his initial nominations are to all be confirmed, would be the most diverse Cabinet of any administration – a Cabinet of many firsts.

Click the illustrations to learn more about Biden’s Cabinet nominations. Larger bubbles represent core Cabinet positions; smaller bubbles represent Cabinet-level positions. Those in grey bubbles have yet to be confirmed; those in green bubbles have already been confirmed or selected (not every Cabinet member has to be confirmed); and those in red have been rejected by the Senate.

Illustrations by Samantha Laurey / Golden Gate Xpress

Biden’s Blitz: 10 Days of Executive Action

In the first 10 days of the presidency, President Joe Biden has taken unprecedented use of the executive action. Here’s a recap of some of the most important actions he’s made in these first days of his presidency, and what these decisions mean.

 

 


Listen: SF State Professor Charles Postel compares Biden’s initial days of the presidency to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s, whom Biden admitted to studying prior to taking office. 

 

Paris Climate Agreement

  • Re-enters the U.S. into the Paris Climate Agreement

 

 


Listen: SF State environmental science professor Glenn Fieldman explains the setback Biden and the U.S. face as a result of President Trump’s withdraw from the agreement.

 

Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government

  • Requires the federal government to “pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all.”

 

  • Establishes the White House Domestic Policy Council “to coordinate formulation and implementation of [Biden’s] administration’s domestic policy objectives … to embed equity principles, policies and approaches across the federal government.”

 

Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry on Entry to the United States

  • Effectively revokes President Donald Trump’s “Muslim travel ban” on seven Muslim-majority nations, also including North Korea and baring certain Venezuelan officials.

 

  • Orders embassies and consulates to “resume visa processing in a manner consistent with the revocation of the executive order and proclamations,” reconsidering all applications submitted while the travel ban was in effect without prejudice.

 

 


Listen: SF State international relations professor Sanjoy Banerjee weighs in on the implications of the travel ban.

 

Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing

  • Requires federal employees to comply with CDC guidelines in wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, among other various public health measures.

 

  • Health and Human Services to “engage [with the public] … with the goal of maintaining public compliance with, and addressing any obstacles to, mask-wearing and other public health best practices identified by the CDC.”

 

  • Establishes the Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce and requires a testing plan submitted by HHS.

 

Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis

  • Places a temporary moratorium on federal government activities relating to the Costal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

 

  • Revokes the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

 

Watch: Students across Bay Area campuses rallied together in San Francisco in March 2014 to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline.

 

Letter to António Guterres

  • Rescinds withdrawal from World Health Organization.

 

Executive Order on Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census

  • Requires, under the 14th Amendment, that the census is “to include all persons whose usual place of residence was in that state as of the designated census date, regardless of their immigration status.”

 

 


Listen: SF State political science professor Ron Hayduk explains the importance of the census, and the consequences of what a failure to reverse President Trump’s actions could have meant for undocumented residents in the Bay Area.

 

Pausing Federal Student Loan Payment

  • Extends moratorium at an interest rate of zero.

 

Proclamation on the Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Southern Border of the United States and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction

  • Seeks to divest border wall funds to other interests.

 

Watch: The Kumeyaay Tribe protests border wall construction in July 2020 (uploaded Sept. 2020).

 

Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel

  • Requires mask-wearing on public transportation.

 

  • Requires travelers to the U.S. to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry, in addition to complying with CDC guidelines.

 

 

Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Read: Second federal judge orders the restoration of DACA

 

 

Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act

  • Opens a special enrollment period “for uninsured and under-insured Americans to seek coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace.”

 

Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI)

  • HHS to “consider issuing guidance describing best practices for advancing cultural competency, language access and sensitivity” toward AAPI communities.

 

  • All federal departments and agencies to ensure official language does not exhibit racism, xenophobia or intolerance.

 

  • The attorney general to expand opportunities to support AAPI communities and to expand data collection regarding hate incidents.

 


Listen: SF State Asian American Studies chair, and leader for the Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate initiative, Russell Jeung comments on President Trump’s anti-Asian rhetoric, and what Biden’s memorandum could mean for the initiative.

 

Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships

  • Reaffirms policy of “including Tribal voices in policy deliberation that affects Tribal communities.”

 

Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve their Country in Uniform

  • Revokes the Presidential Memorandum of March 23, 2018, affirming that “permitting transgender individuals to serve openly in the military was consistent with military readiness and with strength through diversity.”

 

 


Listen: SF State political science professor and Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin comments on the “mixed messaging” Biden’s executive order means for LGBTQ+ individuals.

 

Executive Order on Reforming Our Incarceration System to Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Detention Facilities

  • States that the attorney general is to not renew the Department of Justice’s contracts with private criminal detention facilities.

 

Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad

  • Revokes the Presidential Memorandum of January 23, 2017 — also referred to as the “Mexico City Policy” — which prohibits the nongovernmental organizations from using federal funding “to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning, or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”

 

First 100: President Biden orders sanctions against Myanmar coup military leaders

Protests emerge in Myanmar demanding the freedom of political leaders

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden declared that he would be imposing new sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime in response to a coup that occurred on Feb 1.

The coup, which resulted in the detainment of Myanmar’s head of state, Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as other political leaders, resulted in thousands of people protesting across the country.

The sanctions will target the business interests of military leaders who directed the coup and their family members. Biden also said that the first round of “targets” will be announced this week.

According to Biden, the sanctions will be careful not to obstruct the support of “healthcare, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly.”

In addition, an executive order has been issued by Biden that will prevent Myanmar’s generals from accessing $1 billion in assets from the U.S.

The coup was initiated after the Myanmar government failed to address the military’s claims of voter fraud during the November general election.

It’s being viewed as a violation, a clear violation of human rights.”

— Mahmood Monshipouri

“American policymakers, when they talk about imposing sanctions on Myanmar in the name of promoting democracy or punishing human rights violators this is one thing to consider,” said Mahmood Monshipouri, chair of SF State’s International Relations department. “Are they punishing the people and economic development of the country, or are they punishing the military leaders?”

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department denounced violence against the demonstrators and repeated calls for the military to restore the democratically elected government.

“It’s being viewed as a violation, a clear violation of human rights,” Monshipouri said.

Myanmar was previously the target of sanctions after attacks against the country’s Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority. As of 2019, over 900,000 Rohingya Muslims had been pushed out of Myanmar and into Bangladesh, where they experienced discrimination and extrajudicial killings.

Monshipouri stated that there is still a debate on the effectiveness of sanctions and how they have been used indiscriminately.

“I often think about sanctions, that if they are not carefully designed to hit the target, you’re collectively punishing the whole nation,” Monshipouri said. 

Biden states that his administration will be ready to impose additional measures and continue working with U.S. international partners. 

First 100: Biden’s Take on Immigration

 

Editor’s Note: On Feb. 18, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was formally introduced to Congress. Read more about Biden’s remarks on its introduction here.

Now-President Joe Biden introduced a legislative proposal to Congress prior to taking his oath of office on Inauguration Day, which would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for over 10 million undocumented immigrants in the country if passed through both houses.

The bill, entitled the “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021,” is part of a campaign pledge to “forcefully pursue policies that safeguard our security, provide a fair and just system that helps to grow and enhance our economy, and secure our cherished values,” according to his presidential campaign website.

If signed into law, the citizenship act would first put undocumented migrants, who came to the U.S. prior to Jan. 1, in a temporary status; after five years, this would be followed by then distributing green cards to those who meet certain requirements; and after three years, recipients would be eligible to apply for citizenship. For “dreamers” of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, green card eligibility would be immediate.

Listen: SF State political science professor Ron Hayduk explains what Biden has learned from his time under the Obama administration, and what this bill means moving forward

The president also seeks to expand on the use of technology along the border for security purposes, to create reunification and refugee programs, and work with Central America countries to create policies that tackle root issues of migration in those nations.

As vice president, Biden worked closely with the Northern Triangle — Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador — forming the North Triangle Joint statement, which formalized the U.S.’ interest in addressing the region’s economic and security stability. 

“Biden has an opportunity to really be a great president, and the Biden administration has a real opportunity to make a tremendous impact,” SF State political science professor Ron Hayduk said. “And it would really necessitate something like a Marshall Plan for Central America, for Mexico, for some of the developing world, essentially, to stem the tide.”

According to Roberto Suro, a USC public policy professor interviewed by the LA Times, it is not likely that the bill will be seen in Congress until the fall, at the earliest.

About the Contributors
Photo of Chris Ramirez
Chris Ramirez, Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-chief for SF State’s Golden Gate Xpress. LA native, SF transplant. Journalism and German majors. Interested in national politics, foreign policy,...

Photo of Sebastian Mino-Bucheli
Sebastian Mino-Bucheli, Multimedia Editor

Sebastian Miño-Bucheli is a photographer, videographer, and coffee enthusiast at the Golden Gate Xpress while majoring in Photojournalism and minoring...

Photo of Kyran Berlin
Kyran Berlin, Online Editor

Kyran is a fourth-year, LA-based student majoring in Print & Online Journalism and minoring in Criminal Justice Studies at SF State. Despite moving...

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