Biden signs 17 executive orders on inauguration day

Benjaman Raeburn, Copy-editor

Wednesday, January 20, marked the inauguration of the 46th President Joe Biden. While January 20 initiated Biden’s official presidency and with that his executive powers, two years from this date is when he began planning for this term, starting with his campaign sketch to his detailed post-election blueprint. During this two year period, Biden and his team have published no less than 49 outlines on policies they plan to implement during the next four years, ranging from reversing Trump’s imprints to tackling the economy and COVID-19. This said, it comes as no surprise to see a glimpse of this plan put in action on Biden’s first day and the following week. However, what is surprising is the number of executive orders the new President signed during this patch. Wasting no time to tackle the problems that face the country, Biden signed 17 executive orders during his inaugural day, and in the following week, he issued nearly 40. Here are the first leading 17 orders and summaries of what they, along with the rest, will do. 



With the Coronavirus still raging on and the recent availability of vaccines, Biden dedicated three of his orders on his first day to make headway against COVID, later dedicating 12 more executive orders towards the same goal. In summary, these orders are targeted and put in place bureaucratic measures concerning vaccine distribution, masks, testing, and general COVID management- along with restrictions on travel. 

  1. Masking up for 100 days: Masks and social distancing will be mandated on federal property; Biden encourages local and state governments to do the same and for people to accept his challenge of masking up for 100 days. 
  2. Reentering the WHO: Biden enters the U.S. back into the World Health Organization (WHO), a reversal of Trump’s decision, and makes Dr. Fauci head of the delegation to the organization. 
  3. COVID Response Coordinator: The position of Covid-19 Response Coordinator is created to brief Biden and control the distribution of medical equipment and vaccines. 



Two of Biden’s first-day orders go to reviving the economy and helping struggling Americans. Since then, Biden has issued three additional economic proclamations, calling for assistance to those struggling during the pandemic, protection for federal workers, and termination of loopholes. 

 4.Ban on foreclosures and evictions: Biden prolongs the ban on foreclosure and eviction until March 31. 

5.Prolongs halt on student loans: Americans with student loans will not have to continue paying them until September 31. 



Some reversing Trump’s orders, others not, Biden signs off on five immigration commands- all on his first day.

6.Reinforcement of DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is consolidated, after threats made by Trump, allowing children who entered the country illegally to avoid deportation for two years and earn a work permit. 

7.Muslim countries: Biden reverses Trump’s decree that blocked passport holders from seven predominately Muslim countries from entrance into the U.S. 

8.Immigration enforcement: Trump’s enlargement of immigration enforcement within the U.S. is reversed. 

9.Pause on the wall: Construction on the wall is paused and the national emergency fund is withdrawn from the project. 

10.Postpones deportation of Liberians: Deportation of Liberians seeking refuge in the U.S. is withheld until June 30, 2022.



Two of Biden’s inaugural commands address the climate and environment, along with three later ones which place climate change as an issue of foreign policy (setting a goal for reducing emissions) and revise the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

11.Paris agreement: The U.S. reenters the Paris climate accord, attempting to slow down climate change.

  1. Cancellation of Keystone pipeline: Biden suspends the Keystone XL pipeline, which he believes damages wildlife and intrudes upon land considered sacred by Native Americans. 



Attempting to tackle what some people believe to be the inequity the country has experienced, Biden dedicates two of his first orders to promoting equity. Four later orders address the subject by reversing trans-gender military discrimination, taking measures to prevent crimes and harassment against Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans, directing conversation between federal agencies and Tribal groups, terminating contracts with private prisons, and fortifying the Fair Housing Act. 

13.Reversal of 1776 Commission: The 1776 Commission, a committee that aimed to infuse “patriotic education” into the school system and has been accused of ignoring dark periods of American history such as slavery, is reversed, and Biden urges companies to ensure racial equality. 

14.Sexual and gender equity:  Discrimination in the workplace based on sexual or gender orientation is prohibited. 


Other issues

Biden’s last three executive orders address the Census, ethics, and regulation. 

15.Non-citizens: Non-citizens are to be included in the Census and tallying of congressional representatives.

16.Ethical pledge: Members of the executive branch must sign a pledge that prevents them from acting out a self-interest. 

17.Reversal of Trump’s regulatory process: The director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will reverse Trump’s regulatory process of approval and edit regulatory review.