/Joe Biden ends funds diverted to Mexico border wall as he signs his first executive orders – ABC News

Joe Biden ends funds diverted to Mexico border wall as he signs his first executive orders – ABC News

US President Joe Biden has issued his first executive orders, ending emergency funds to build a wall on the Mexican border, and requiring face masks to be worn on federal land.

Key points:

They were two of 15 executive actions the new President signed on his first day in office.

The emergency declaration signed by former president Donald Trump to divert funding to building a wall on the US-Mexico border has been stopped.

The border wall was one of the signature projects of the Trump administration, and was a key policy on his way to winning the 2016 election.

Mr Biden has also made the wearing of face masks mandatory in and on Federal Government buildings and land.

This order comes as the United States continues to suffer through the coronavirus pandemic.

The orders also initiate the process of the United States rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, and include the revocation of the presidential permit granted for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Mr Biden will also end a travel ban Mr Trump put in place on some majority-Muslim countries.

He is also calling upon his administration to strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for immigrants brought to the United States as children.

US President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office.

“Some of the executive actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the COVID crisis, we’re going to combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities,” he said.

“These are just all starting points.”

Mr Biden also announced memorandums and directives during his first day.

Further actions will include revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, and reversing a policy that blocks US funding for programs overseas linked to abortion.

On the economic front, Mr Biden asked the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to extend a moratorium on evictions until the end of March, and the Department of Education to suspend student loan payments until the end of September.

Read more about Biden’s inauguration as 46th US President:

Here are some of the highlights of the executive orders which the President has signed.

Border wall

Mr Biden has immediately ended the national emergency that Mr Trump declared on the border in February 2018 to divert billions of dollars from the Defence Department to wall construction.

He has also halted construction to review contracts and how wall money might be redirected.

Despite Mr Trump’s repeated promises that Mexico would pay for the wall, US Customs and Border Protection says Americans have committed $15 billion for more than 1,120 kilometres.

It is unclear how many kilometres are under contract and what penalties the Government would have to pay for cancelling them.

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Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 11 seconds

Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 11 seconds

Masks in federal budlings

People in federal buildings are required to wear face masks and social distance.

The rule applies to all federal buildings, on federal lands and by federal employees and contractors.

Mr Biden has challenged all Americans to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his administration.

Mr Biden has revoked one of Mr Trump’s first executive orders, which declared that all of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally are considered priorities for deportation.

The Department of Homeland Security will conduct a review of enforcement priorities.

Mr Biden’s campaign site says deportations will focus on national security and public safety threats.

The order says nothing about a 100-day moratorium on deportations that Biden promised during the campaign.

Susan Rice, who is tapped to run the White House Domestic Policy Council, says any decision on moratoriums would come from Homeland Security.

Joe Biden wearing a trench coat and gloves, waving as he walks outside the White House with his family.

Paris Climate Accord

The United States will re-join the Paris Climate Accord.

This fulfils a campaign pledge Mr Biden ran on to get back into the global climate pact on day one.

Mr Trump, a supporter of oil, gas and coal, had made a first priority of pulling out of global efforts to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions.

It will take 30 days for the US to officially be back in.

World Health Organization

Mr Biden has directed the Government to re-join the World Health Organization, which Donald Trump withdrew from earlier this year after accusing it of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus.

Symbolising Mr Biden’s commitment to a more prominent global role, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients announced that Dr Anthony Fauci will deliver a speech on Thursday to the WHO as head of a US delegation.

Dr Fauci, the Government’s top infectious disease expert, will lay out how the administration intends to work with the WHO on reforms, supporting the coronavirus response and promoting global health and health security.

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Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 30 seconds

Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 30 seconds

Muslim ‘travel ban ends

Mr Biden has ended what is known as the “travel ban”, one of the first acts of the Trump administration.

In January 2017, Mr Trump banned foreign nationals from seven mostly Muslim countries from entry into the country.

After a lengthy court fight, a watered-down version of the rule was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in 2018.

The new administration says it will improve the screening of visitors by strengthening information sharing with foreign governments and other measures.

The ban applied to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Mr Biden has reversed a plan to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted in the 2020 Census.

The once-a-decade census is used to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets, as well as the distribution of $1.5 trillion in Federal spending each year.

Mr Biden’s team said the new administration will ensure the Census Bureau has time to complete an accurate count for each state and that the apportionment is “fair and accurate”.