U.S. bishops praise Biden’s executive orders on DACA, Paris climate agreement

January 21, 2021 at 10:29 p.m.
 U.S. bishops praise Biden’s executive orders on DACA, Paris climate agreement
U.S. bishops praise Biden’s executive orders on DACA, Paris climate agreement

Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON – On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed 17 executive orders and proclamations aimed at undoing policies set in place by his predecessor.

Some of those executive orders undone by Biden's actions Jan. 20 were themselves reversals of policies by other past presidents.

Biden boosted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by former President Barack Obama, and which previous President Donald Trump sought unsuccessfully to end. Also, the 46th president revoked the Trump administration's bid to exclude noncitizens from the decennial U.S. census count.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington, head of the bishops' Committee on Migration, said action on DACA was particularly important for about 800,000 young people who were brought to the U.S illegally as children.

They said the young people who benefit from the program, known as Dreamers, deserve the opportunity to continue working legally in the U.S., access educational opportunities and not fear deportation.

"We welcome the announcement preserving and fortifying DACA," they said. "For years, DACA youth have been enriching our country. They are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities and leaders in our parishes and communities. They and their families deserve certainty, compassion, generosity and justice."

The Department of Homeland Security said that effective Jan. 21, it was instituting a 100-day pause in deportations and rescinding the "remain in Mexico" policy that required those seeking asylum in the United States to stay in Mexico until their case came up for review.

Another key executive order from Biden erases a travel ban that started out with a half-dozen majority-Muslim countries and later was expanded to include four African nations, plus Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan.

He also directed the State Department to restart visa processing for individuals from the formerly banned nations, and to develop ways to address harm caused by the ban.

"We welcome the proclamation, which will help ensure that those fleeing persecution and seeking refuge or seeking to reunify with family in the United States will not be turned away because of what country they are from or what religion they practice," said a joint statement Jan. 21 from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, head of the U.S. bishops' Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Dorsonville.

President Biden also signed a letter announcing the United States' intent to rejoin the Paris climate accord, which will take effect in February. The United States withdrew the United States from the accord in 2019.
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"On the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Pope Francis called for 'a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the center,'" said a joint statement Jan. 21 from Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, head of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, head of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Sean L. Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services.

"The environment and human beings everywhere, especially the poor and vulnerable, stand to benefit from the care of our common home. For this reason, we urge the United States to do more to help poorer nations adapt to the changes in climate that cannot be prevented," they added.

One climate-related executive order by President Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Another enforces a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A third reversed the rollbacks to vehicle emissions stands. A fourth undid Trump-era decisions to reduce the size of several national monuments, and a fifth reestablished a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gases.

The new president also halted construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall via an "immediate termination" of Trump's national emergency declaration that allowed billions of dollars allocated to the Defense Department to go to wall construction, as well as a review of the legality of those funding transfers.

Further, Biden issued an executive order overturning a previous executive order that called for aggressive tactics to find and deport immigrants in this country illegally. Another executive order also blocked the deportation of Liberians who have been living in the United States.

President Biden signed an executive order requiring social distancing and the wearing of masks on all federal property for the next 100 days. He also issued a "100 days masking challenge" to Americans to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The new president also appointed Jeffery Zients as the national COVID-19 response coordinator, reporting directly to President Biden.

Further, he reinstated ties with the World Health Organization. The head of the U.S. delegation will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, a Catholic who is considered the leading U.S. infectious disease expert.

Biden reversed a Trump administration action that weakened federal civil rights protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and revoked a Trump executive order limiting the ability of federal agencies and contractors to conduct diversity and inclusion training.

Biden designated Susan Rice, head of his Domestic Policy Council, to lead the effort to require all federal agencies to make "rooting out systemic racism" central to their work.

He also rescinded the Trump administration's "1776 Commission"; its report was derided by educators and historians for its treatment of slavery. The commission's report argued slavery was not "a uniquely American evil"; Trump formed the commission to counter The New York Times' "1619 Project."

Biden also extended through March a federal moratorium on evictions and has asked three federal agencies to extend a moratorium on foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages. He also continued a moratorium on federal student loan interest and principal payments through September.

The new president established ethics rules for all who serve in his administration, and ordered all appointees in the executive branch to sign an ethics pledge.


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WASHINGTON – On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed 17 executive orders and proclamations aimed at undoing policies set in place by his predecessor.

Some of those executive orders undone by Biden's actions Jan. 20 were themselves reversals of policies by other past presidents.

Biden boosted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by former President Barack Obama, and which previous President Donald Trump sought unsuccessfully to end. Also, the 46th president revoked the Trump administration's bid to exclude noncitizens from the decennial U.S. census count.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington, head of the bishops' Committee on Migration, said action on DACA was particularly important for about 800,000 young people who were brought to the U.S illegally as children.

They said the young people who benefit from the program, known as Dreamers, deserve the opportunity to continue working legally in the U.S., access educational opportunities and not fear deportation.

"We welcome the announcement preserving and fortifying DACA," they said. "For years, DACA youth have been enriching our country. They are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities and leaders in our parishes and communities. They and their families deserve certainty, compassion, generosity and justice."

The Department of Homeland Security said that effective Jan. 21, it was instituting a 100-day pause in deportations and rescinding the "remain in Mexico" policy that required those seeking asylum in the United States to stay in Mexico until their case came up for review.

Another key executive order from Biden erases a travel ban that started out with a half-dozen majority-Muslim countries and later was expanded to include four African nations, plus Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan.

He also directed the State Department to restart visa processing for individuals from the formerly banned nations, and to develop ways to address harm caused by the ban.

"We welcome the proclamation, which will help ensure that those fleeing persecution and seeking refuge or seeking to reunify with family in the United States will not be turned away because of what country they are from or what religion they practice," said a joint statement Jan. 21 from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, head of the U.S. bishops' Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Dorsonville.

President Biden also signed a letter announcing the United States' intent to rejoin the Paris climate accord, which will take effect in February. The United States withdrew the United States from the accord in 2019.
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"On the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Pope Francis called for 'a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the center,'" said a joint statement Jan. 21 from Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, head of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, head of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Sean L. Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services.

"The environment and human beings everywhere, especially the poor and vulnerable, stand to benefit from the care of our common home. For this reason, we urge the United States to do more to help poorer nations adapt to the changes in climate that cannot be prevented," they added.

One climate-related executive order by President Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Another enforces a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A third reversed the rollbacks to vehicle emissions stands. A fourth undid Trump-era decisions to reduce the size of several national monuments, and a fifth reestablished a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gases.

The new president also halted construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall via an "immediate termination" of Trump's national emergency declaration that allowed billions of dollars allocated to the Defense Department to go to wall construction, as well as a review of the legality of those funding transfers.

Further, Biden issued an executive order overturning a previous executive order that called for aggressive tactics to find and deport immigrants in this country illegally. Another executive order also blocked the deportation of Liberians who have been living in the United States.

President Biden signed an executive order requiring social distancing and the wearing of masks on all federal property for the next 100 days. He also issued a "100 days masking challenge" to Americans to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The new president also appointed Jeffery Zients as the national COVID-19 response coordinator, reporting directly to President Biden.

Further, he reinstated ties with the World Health Organization. The head of the U.S. delegation will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, a Catholic who is considered the leading U.S. infectious disease expert.

Biden reversed a Trump administration action that weakened federal civil rights protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and revoked a Trump executive order limiting the ability of federal agencies and contractors to conduct diversity and inclusion training.

Biden designated Susan Rice, head of his Domestic Policy Council, to lead the effort to require all federal agencies to make "rooting out systemic racism" central to their work.

He also rescinded the Trump administration's "1776 Commission"; its report was derided by educators and historians for its treatment of slavery. The commission's report argued slavery was not "a uniquely American evil"; Trump formed the commission to counter The New York Times' "1619 Project."

Biden also extended through March a federal moratorium on evictions and has asked three federal agencies to extend a moratorium on foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages. He also continued a moratorium on federal student loan interest and principal payments through September.

The new president established ethics rules for all who serve in his administration, and ordered all appointees in the executive branch to sign an ethics pledge.

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