Reversing, revising: Joe Biden’s first days in office

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Photo courtesy of ABC Chicago

Since his inauguration, President Joe Biden has faced a pandemic, climate change, and immigration issues just in his first 100 days.

Marissa Ortiz, Staff Writer

Taking the seat of the presidency comes with many obligations and responsibilities. Newly-elected Joe Biden has taken this role as the 46th president of the United States in hopes of helping a deeply divided country. His first days in office have already been filled with a plethora of new legislation, initiatives, and conflict.

On January 20, 2021, Biden became president of the United States with Vice President Kamala Harris by his side. With the Covid-19 pandemic, economic hardship, and immigration crisis still left unsolved by the previous administration, Biden has stated that he is committed to fixing the urgent issues that everyday Americans face. So far, his first 100 days in office have been productive with more plans for the months to come.

The first hundred days as a political concept started with FDR during the Great Depression,” explained AICE US History teacher Mr. Salemme. “He launched one of the most ambitious programs ever, the New Deal. President Biden does not have to combat a financial crisis, but the situation currently in the USA is not the best, historically speaking.”

In 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, he had to overcome the effects of the Great Depression, rising social injustice, and the threat of another World War. As Biden comes into office, he faces a similar national crisis, a country ravaged by a pandemic and divided by politics. 

Additionally, both presidents were similar regarding the fact that they had the advantage of learning from their previous administration’s mistakes. Within FDR’s first 100 days in office, he went to work right away and signed a historic number of 15 pieces of legislation to fix the crisis taking place which is similar to the action Biden has taken thus far.

In Biden’s first week in office, he has signed 17 executive moves ranging from the Coronavirus to immigration. He plans to get a hold of the pandemic and reverse some of the policies that the Trump administration had put in place. For example, some of the executive moves that he signed for public health and the environment included the stop of the United States’ withdrawal from the World Health Organization and the rejoining of the Paris Climate accord. Regarding immigration and equality, he has overturned the Trump administration’s expansion of immigration enforcement in the U.S. and halted the construction of the border wall. 

“Roosevelt’s New Deal aimed to draw America out of the Great Depression through massive government programs,” said Time Magazine writer Charlotte Alter. “Biden’s ‘Build Back Better Plan’ promises to put Americans to work helping the country recover from COVID-19. Perhaps most importantly, Biden seems to share Roosevelt’s belief that the federal government should be relied upon to help ordinary Americans in times of need.”

One of Biden’s first actions on inauguration day was a bill that addresses immigration. The bill that Biden has put in place will help undocumented immigrants and their children get their green cards quicker and, most importantly, keep families together. Also, the memorandum that Biden put out reverses the travel ban on Muslim and African countries that the Trump administration put in place.

Moreover, President Joe Biden is now trying to reverse the “Zero Tolerance” policy. The policy explains that all immigrants that crossed the border illegally will be taken back to their country and deported. As a result of this policy, many families have split apart.

 He had also signed a memorandum in order to take action regarding the DACA program. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the program is an immigration policy that helps and protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as kids. 

“It seems that the circumstances of the moment are going to dictate his first hundred days more than his own agenda,” said Salemme. “My guess is that he will be remembered for his handling of Covid-19, the Trump Impeachment, and most importantly on his promise to be a healer and uniter for the country.”

In order to undo certain actions from the previous administration, Biden came up with a unique system where each day of January has a theme. For example, the themes of January 21 and 22 were Covid and economic relief, meaning that the whole day he would be dealing with everything that has to do with Covid and economic relief.

“I don’t really think that is what we need right now,” expressed senior Grace Shearer. “We don’t need themed weeks. We need to focus on what’s really affecting our country right now, which is equality as a whole including police brutality, Covid, how our country is handling it and so many more important things.”

On one of the environmental-centered days, Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. This global action plan is an agreement within the United Nations and 197 other countries including Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, and Russia to share research and work on solutions to slow climate change. Back on June 1, 2017, former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement believing that our participation in the agreement would “undermine” our economy, and place the country “at a permanent disadvantage.”  It took 30 days for the U.S. to officially join the accord again, and as of February 19, 2021, the US is once again part of the accord with Dr. Anthony Fauci leading the delegation.  

Biden’s executive order for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Accord is seen by scientists as vital since it gives American researchers access to other databases around the world that track Earth’s temperatures and carbon emissions. This also has the potential to impact the alliances with places like China that were affected by the prior administration.

By rejoining the global stage through the Paris Agreement, the U.S. will also be able to rebuild diplomatic and regulatory alliances,” said Mindy Lubber, the president of the non-profit sustainability advocacy organization Ceres and an environmental contributor for Forbes magazine.

Within his first weeks of becoming President, Biden has worked diligently to get the country back on its feet following the crippling pandemic. He also managed to pass a plethora of legislation which never happens without criticism. People may not agree with his methods, but Biden has certainly been busy in the oval office. 

“I think Biden’s first 100 days in office compared to the Trump administration will be memorable,” said junior, Tamoya Wilmont. “Biden is trying to fix all the problems the previous administration had ignored.”

For more information:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/preserving-and-fortifying-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals-daca/

https://www.conservation.org/blog/5-questions-youve-wanted-to-ask-about-the-paris-agreement?gclid=CjwKCAiAjeSABhAPEiwAqfxURda6wtOT0w84yjDZUUQlVSc6qjLn8RJZ26du-8NLrgr6LeNyH_AWIhoCTbAQAvD_BwE