The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

First 100: Executive Action Blitz

January 30, 2021

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.”


About the Contributors
Photo of Kyran Berlin
Kyran Berlin
Kyran (she/they) is a returning member of the Xpress staff as Online Editor. She transferred to SF State mid-pandemic from her hometown of Albuquerque, NM, and is currently living in Los Angeles. They are an avid podcast consumer and creative writer, but most enjoys reporting on LGBTQIA+ issues, arts, social justice and criminal justice reform.

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