Biden-Harris Sworn In: Joe Biden was sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States along with Kamala Harris being sworn in as the Vice President of the States on Wednesday, as the nations together watched the inauguration ceremony amidst unprecedented security at the same Capitol Hill which had witnessed America’s greatest horror as Trump supporters led a mob attack days ago.
Biden pledged to unite the country and calling on Americans to end the “uncivil war” that has fractured the deeply polarised nation. In his speech that lasted for 21 minutes, Biden praised Americans for rising to the challenge and reclaiming democracy.
Harris Scripts History As First Woman VP Of US:
Kamala Harris was also sworn in as America’s first woman Vice President in a time-honoured ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol. Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant from Chennai, scripted history by becoming the first-ever woman Vice President of the United States. The 56-year-old former Senator is also the first Black and first South Asian American vice president.
Biden signs executive orders to reverse Trump’s policies:
Soon after taking over, Biden signed several actions in front of reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon, saying that there was “no time to waste” in issuing the executive orders, memorandums and directives.
He signed 15 executive orders covering also immigration and the fight against Covid-19 on Wednesday afternoon after he was sworn-in as president and Kamala Harris as Vice President.
Here’s a look at the 15 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations signed by Biden on Day 1 of his office:
- US re-engagement with WHO: Undoing the policiesof his predecessor Trump, Biden signed order for the US to join World Health Organization (WHO) in the first set of actions. Angry at the WHO for its handling of the coronavirus, which he had termed China virus due to its origin in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had halted funding to the global health agency last year. Rejoining the WHO “will strengthen our efforts in strengthening global health,” his Spokesperson Jan Psaki said.
- US back into fight against global warming, as Biden signs order rejoining the Paris climate accord: In one of his first official acts, Biden immediately launched a series of climate-friendly efforts that would transform how Americans drive and get their power, putting US back into the fight against global warming. He igned an executive order rejoining the Paris climate accord, undoing the US withdrawal ordered by predecessor Donald Trump.
- Reversing immigration policies: Taking up immigration issues, Biden gave protection and work permits to those who came in as children and are in the country illegally. It would not help those who came in legally and stayed legal like the children of those on H1-B visas who can be deported when they become adults.
- End Trump’s travel ban on predominantly Muslim and African countries: Biden also ended the so-called “Muslim ban” on visas for people from certain countries. Although the media and the Democrats labelled the Trump action “Muslim ban”, it does not apply to all Muslim countries and was narrowly focused on countries that did not have a system to vet the background of visa applicants and also applied to North Korea.
- Order on Covid-19 Pandemic, mandating wearing of masks: The first order Biden signed was for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. It mandated the wearing of masks and observance of social distancing on federal government politics and on planes, trains and buses travelling between states.
- Halting construction of wall at Mexcio border: Trump issued another order ending the construction of the wall on the Mexican border that Trump had ordered to deter illegal immigration.
- Citizenship to immigrants: He was also sending to Congress an immigration bill that would give legal status to about 11 million people who are in the country legally and eventually citizenship. According to one of Biden’s election manifestos, 500,000 Indians would be covered by it. The bill would not cover those legally in the country on non-immigrant visas like H1-B and can wait several decades for getting Green Cards or immigrant status.
- Biden also ended oil and gas exploration on federal lands and the laying of a pipeline to transport oil from Canada.