WASHINGTON: Joe Biden will sign orders hours after being sworn in as US President to break from policies imposed by the departing President Donald Trump, including a ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries.
The controversial ban was introduced during Trump’s first week in office, causing widespread protest and condemnation.
After court rulings invalidated the first versions of the ban, in 2018 the Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s third version, which applied to nationals of five majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Trump claimed the ban did not target Muslims, and was meant to keep the US “safe and free.”
In 2020, the ban was extended to include restrictions on permanent immigration for people from six other countries, including Sudan and Nigeria.
The policy followed Trump’s pledge on his campaign trail in which he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Biden will also sign 16 other actions on the environment, fighting Covid-19 and the economy, aides said.
In first-day moves, he will halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem unauthorized migration.
He will also set a mask mandate on federal properties to stem the spread of COVID-19, restore protections of nature reserves removed by Trump, and seek freezes on evictions and protection for millions behind on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also plans to send a bill to Congress to revamp immigration policies and give millions of undocumented migrants living in the country a path to citizenship that the Trump administration denied.
Biden “will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward,” the aides said in a statement.