US President Joe Biden speaks after being sworn in as the 46th President of the US
US President Joe Biden speaks after being sworn in as the 46th President of the US
Photo: AFP

It has been a scant few hours since Joe Biden became the US President. But the Democrat who garnered the highest ever number of votes for a winning presidential candidate has already made inroads. It would seem that the current President is determined to undo much of the controversial policies favoured by his predecessor.

Since being sworn in, President Biden has had the US rejoin the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organisation, reversed a travel ban for several predominantly Muslim and African countries, and even halted work on President Trump's pet project - the construction of a wall along the Mexican border.

These are not the only orders signed by the new President. According to an IANS report, Biden signed 17 executive orders covering immigration and the fight against Covid-19 on Wednesday afternoon after he was sworn-in. He also signed a mask mandate - yet another marked deviation from the policies of the Trump administration.

The first order Biden signed was for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. It mandated the wearing of masks and observance of social distancing on federal government politics and on planes, trains and buses travelling between states. Not only that, President Joe Biden has also signed orders for the US to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization.

For those who had not followed the debate, President Trump had quit the Paris Treaty contending that the Pact had placed an unfair economic burden on America, as compared to other nations. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he had withdrawn support to the WHO for alleged deference to China and inaction in the early days of the pandemic.

Biden is also sending Congress an immigration bill that would give legal status to about 11 million people who are in the country legally and eventually citizenship. Nearly four years after it was implemented, Trump's controversial 'Muslim travel ban' has also been done away with. Biden has also reportedly directed the State Department to restart visa processing for individuals from the affected countries and to develop ways to address the harm caused to those who were prevented from coming to the US.

Yet another Trump project - the the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that carried oil from Canada to the US - has also been halted. On Wednesday Biden signed an executive order that revokes a key permit for the project that has been facing massive backlash from environmentalists.

(With inputs from agencies)

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