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Advocates applaud President Biden’s first-day executive orders

New administration offers hope to immigrants, climate, and families facing eviction

Hours after being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden went into the Oval Office and signed a series of executive orders reversing Trump-era policies on climate and immigration while extending relief for families impacted by the pandemic.

One of the orders lifted travel restrictions from seven majority Muslim countries, a policy known as the “Muslim Ban”.

"My uncle was killed by an airstrike just days after the first Muslim ban was signed. Today, we begin the work of undoing the xenophobic, inhumane policies of the Trump administration,” said Michigan Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-4 Hamtramck) the son of Yemeni immigrants. “But, we have so much more work to do to repair the deep wounds and pain inflicted by Trump. The work to make families whole again is just getting started."

Biden also signed other executive orders which rolled back aggressive immigration enforcement practices and reaffirmed the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Another executive order will allow the US to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change within 30 days.

"The aggressive action taken by President Biden to rejoin the Paris Climate Treaty and reinstate rules which were greatly weakened by the Trump administration is a promising step toward treating the existential threat of the climate crisis with the seriousness it deserves,” said Kettering University professor Ben Pauli, a member of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. “We should remember that climate change is not only a threat to the species as a whole but a matter of justice, as low-income communities and communities of color are often the first to feel its impacts.”

Michigan United supports the president's action and will keep working with communities disproportionately impacted by polluters.

As last year drew to a close, it's estimated that one in five renters had fallen behind in their payments. The current federal moratorium on evictions was set to expire at the end of the month but President Biden extended it until March 31 by signing another executive order.

"We finally have a President who understands how this crisis affects real people," said Westland city councilwoman, Tasha Green who has been negotiating with landlords on behalf of residents. "The vaccine may be a light at the end of the tunnel but it's an awfully long tunnel. President Biden's action is going to buy us the time we need to prevent an epidemic of evictions and homelessness."

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