Biden signs 17+ executive orders in his first week in office


Irfan Khan

President Joe Biden signs an executive order after speaking during an event on his administration’s COVID-19 response with Vice President Kamala Harris, left, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Photo by Irfan Khan – TNS

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

It has been one week since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the 46th President and Vice-President of the U.S. Both got an early start on implementing their administration’s agenda. This included signing several executive orders, some of which undid moves made by former president Donald J. Trump.

Here is a breakdown of some of the major things that have been implemented since Biden and Harris took office. 


U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event on economic crisis in the State Dining Room of the White House January 22, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Alex Wong – TNS (Alex Wong)


Biden signed over 10 executive orders relating to combat the COVID-19 virus. Among the orders were requiring mask-wearing on federal property, creating the position of Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Counselor to the president, requiring mask-wearing on domestic and international public transport and requiring travelers entering the U.S. to present a negative COVID-19 virus test and accelerating the development of “novel therapies” to treat the COVID-19 virus.

Other executive orders included ensuring a data-driven response to the COVID-19 virus and future public health threats, instating the Defense Production Act of 1950 to ramp up production efforts related for combatting the COVID-19 virus, starting an effort to address and prevent equity disparities in the response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic and creating safe conditions to reopen schools amid the pandemic as quickly as possible.

Biden also signed executive orders related to ensuring the safety of workers from the COVID-19 virus by pushing for additional resources and reassessing current measures and creating a national COVID-19 virus testing and workforce strategy to expand testing. Lastly, a memorandum was issued extending the federal government’s support to local and statewide efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus.

Gender and race equity:

Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform

This order ends the transgender military ban that was put in place by Trump. It allows any American who wants to and is qualified to serve their country regardless of their gender identity. 

Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government

This order is aimed at advancing equity within the federal government so that everyone is given an equal opportunity to reach their full potential. This will begin with federal agency’s assessing what systemic barriers officials in their department currently face using allocated resources provided by the government.  

Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation

This order is aimed at providing equal treatment and preventing discrimination of people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.  Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes.  People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination,” as written in the executive order. 


Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease

This proclamation puts a temporary pause on immigrants and non-immigrants from the Republic of South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil from entering the U.S. This pause is to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus from these countries where they are experiencing widespread and ongoing transmission or other deadly strains of the virus, from entering the U.S. and endanger more people. 

Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities

This order will revoke Executive Order 13768 of January 25, 2017 (Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States) which was put in place by the Trump administration, and align civil immigration laws with the new administration’s values and priorities. 

Executive Order on Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census

This order states that undocumented immigrants will be counted on the 2020 census. This revokes a previous executive order and memorandum (Executive Order 13880 of July 11, 2019 Collecting Information About Citizenship Status in Connection With the Decennial Census and the Presidential Memorandum of July 21, 2020 Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census) put in place by the Trump administration. 

Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States 

This proclamation revokes previous executive orders (Executive Order 13780, and Proclamations 9645, 9723, and 9983) which prohibited entry to the U.S. based on discriminatory beliefs towards people coming from Muslim and African countries. Embassies and Consulates in those respective countries are now allowed to resume processing visas in accordance with this proclamation. 

Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) 

This memo to the attorney general and secretary of state requests that they protect and reinforce the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to temporarily remain in the U.S. despite their status. As long as they have obeyed the law and remained in school or the military.  


Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis

This order is aimed at advancing environmental justice to tackle the climate crisis. The government will listen to the science and review federal regulations regarding the climate from the past four years and adjust them accordingly to the current administration’s new objectives. 

One major aspect of this order is revoking the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline which will end its construction, maintenance and operation. 


Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers

This order seeks to maximize the use of goods and services made and offered in the U.S. With the help of the federal government, American businesses will be better able to survive and compete with foreign companies. 

Executive Order on Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel

This order requires government appointees appointed on or after Jan 10 to sign a pledge committing them to work ethically to build and maintain the public’s trust. 

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.

This proclamation pauses construction and stops the use of emergency funds used to build the southern border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The emergency funds were put in place by Trump in 2019. The current administration will no longer put any tax-payer money towards constructing the southern border wall.