Immigration, Climate, Mask Wearing, Protectionism… Joe Biden’s First Decisions

“We do not have a second to lose,” said Tuesday evening the 46th President of the United States, who will take his first decisions in the wake of his inauguration on Wednesday.

President-elect Joe Biden delivers a speech before leaving Delaware for Washington where he is to be invested on Wednesday. AFP / Jim Watson

A few hours before his inauguration, the new President of the United States, Joe Biden, multiplies the announcements. It is especially through the voice of his future ministers, heard Tuesday by committees in the Senate to be confirmed, that the projects are revealed.

About fifteen decisions this Wednesday. “We don’t have a second to waste in dealing with the crises we face as a nation,” Joe Biden tweeted Tuesday night.

This afternoon in the Oval Office, probably in front of the cameras, Joe Biden, 46th President of the United States, will sign his first presidential decrees. Fifteen decrees and memoranda, to which will be added two measures requested from government agencies, according to new White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. One of these decrees imposes the obligation to wear the mask in the premises and areas dependent on the Federal State, as well as when travelling between States. Another plans to extend the moratorium on housing evictions and put on hold the repayment of federal student loans, to breathe life into those most affected by the economic consequences of the epidemic. The ban on transgender people from entering

A regularization plan for undocumented migrants. Congress will quickly be seized of a bill to “repair our failing migration system”, according to Alejandro Mayorkas, whom Biden wants to appoint Minister of Homeland Security. Undocumented migrants present on December 31, 2020, on American soil could be regularized in five years, provided they meet several conditions. An accelerated procedure is envisaged for the “Dreamers”, these some 700,000 young adults who entered the United States illegally during their childhood and who have lived there ever since. As of Wednesday, the new president will, by proclamation, suspend construction work on Trump’s wall on the border with Mexico and its funding from the Pentagon budget.

A green plan. By unveiling last week his safeguard plan for the American economy, wracked by the Covid-19 pandemic, Joe Biden had said that a recovery plan through the green economy would be presented to Congress in the coming weeks. Joe Biden is due to send a letter to the UN on Wednesday to re-engage the United States in the Paris climate agreement. Determined to try to restore the green image of his nation, addicted to oil and hydraulic fracturing, Democrat plans to bring together the leaders of the most polluting nations to convince them to revise their commitments upwards.

2000 billion for the climate. The details of the plan are not yet known, but the program that will be presented to Congress next month will provide $ 2 trillion to green the US economy. It could be largely inspired by the Green New Deal carried within the Democratic Party and in the House of Representatives by the charismatic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and which affects transport, construction, agriculture as much as electrical energy or electricity. improvement of care for all. There is already pressure to not cut fossil fuels too quickly, especially natural gas, seen as vital transition energy for the US economy.

A national environmental advisor. This is the first time that such a position has been created at the White House, and it will be filled by Gina McCarthy, an environmental health specialist discovered by Barack Obama. As the head of the White House’s Office of Domestic Climate Policy, she will advise the president on his national environmental strategy. Among the decrees signed on Wednesday, Biden will revoke the authorization given by Donald Trump to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project between the United States and Canada. He must also send a letter to the UN asking for

Fight extremism. The American far-right has proven in recent weeks how much it had progressed to Washington, through the riots on the Capitol on January 6, and inspired, with the QAnon movement, in particular, the population as well as the highest circles and the army. . The next US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin on Tuesday pledged to fight extremism in the US military.

“The activities that we have recently witnessed in our ranks, in terms of potentially racist or extremist behaviour, are in my opinion absolutely unacceptable,” assured the former four-star general about the participation of soldiers in civilian clothes in the “taking From the Capitol. “The Department of Defense’s job is to protect America from our enemies, but we cannot carry it out if some of these enemies are hiding in our ranks,” said the first African American to lead the Pentagon before the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

A protectionist policy vis-à-vis China. In trade matters, Donald Trump has wielded the whip against China and Europe, by imposing numerous surcharges on imported products. Future Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced to the Senate that the Biden administration would follow in this wake by deploying a large arsenal of tools to counter Beijing’s “abusive”, “unfair” and “illegal” practices. “We can win the competition with China,” added the next US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. But the head of the diplomacy wants to radically change method and “work with the allies instead of denigrating them, to participate and lead international institutions rather than to disengage from them”.

By pampering its historic allies, the United States will be “in a much better position to counter threats posed by Russia, Iran and North Korea and to defend democracy and human rights,” he said. To be worth it. Concerning Europe, on the other hand, the American position could soften. Yellen has already spoken to the EU to discuss the thorny issue of taxation of digital giants.

Renew a demanding dialogue with Iran. During his tenure, Donald Trump appeared several times on the verge of conflict with the Islamic Republic. He slammed the door of the international nuclear agreement and stepped up the sanctions against Tehran. According to Antony Blinken, the United States could return to the agreement “if Iran comes back to the nails” of its nuclear commitments from which it is freed more every day, and if the international agreement includes the missile program ballistics of Iran as well as its “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.

The withdrawal from Afghanistan has been confirmed. “I would like this dispute to conclude with a peaceful resolution,”  Lloyd Austin told senators, deeming that “focusing on counterterrorism operations in the future would be useful.” On the other hand, in written responses to questions from elected officials, the future Pentagon chief said he intended to reconsider the military withdrawals from Germany and Somalia wanted by Donald Trump.

In Israel, Jerusalem strengthened the desire for dialogue with the c. President Biden will not go back on the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to his future Foreign Minister Antony Blinken. Historical but vigilant allies of Israel, the United States made this highly political gesture in December 2017, then transferred its embassy to the holy city, to the chagrin of part of the international community who felt that Donald Trump was throwing oil on the fire. Last April, Biden had already announced that he would not be moving the embassy. He also said he was ready to reopen a consulate in East Jerusalem to restart dialogue with the Palestinian Authority.

“The president agrees with me that the best way, perhaps the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish state, and to give the Palestinians the state to which they are entitled, is the solution so-called two-state,” said Blinken, who however sees no “short-term” solution.