Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of Center for Popular Democracy, released the following statement in response to the executive orders issued, proposed and signed by President Joe Biden.
“Today, we usher in a new, brighter moment for our people and for our future with a series of executive orders issued and proposed by President Joe Biden. After four years of attacks on Black, Brown and Native communities, we are relieved that the new president’s first action has been to issue orders intended to undo several of the countless harms imposed by the Trump administration.
The executive orders that the president has issued today are necessary first steps, but they are not enough. We urge the Biden-Harris administration to continue to act aggressively and swiftly to put this country on a true course to freedom and justice — and we will hold the administration accountable to make sure our communities get the resources we need.
We need policies that ensure we can access the care we need to stay healthy and well; that guarantee our children can learn in schools that keep them safe and help them grow; that provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants; that protect our ability to stay in the homes we know and love; and that begin to restore the centuries of harm we’ve inflicted on the planet that we all call home.
A principal aim of the Trump administration was to target immigrants with cruel and dehumanizing policies and practices — including family separation, SWAT-like ICE raids, mass detentions and border militarization — all while denying any pathway to citizenship. It’s a testament to the advocacy and organizing work of the immigrant community that President Biden’s first actions include sending an immigration bill to Congress that will provide a path to citizenship, rescinding the Muslim Ban, preserving DACA and creating a family reunification task force. Now, we call on the administration to enact a moratorium on ICE arrests and deportations — without carve outs — to provide a respite from the harms that detentions and deportations cause immigrant communities.
In the past year, over 400,000 people have died and millions more have fallen into poverty due to COVID-19 and the government’s dangerous inaction and indifference. We are relieved that President Biden’s actions extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, which will help millions of people keep a roof over their heads. However, our communities are in great need of housing security. We call on the president to work with Congress to immediately institute a comprehensive national eviction moratorium that bars all evictions and foreclosures, and to implement rent forgiveness to help all renters stay in their homes.
As we look to combat the spiraling climate crisis, we welcome the initial steps set forth in the executive orders, including revoking the Keystone XL permit, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and elevating climate change as a national security priority. Now, we urge President Biden and Congress to fully divest from systems like fossil fuels, and ensure economic recovery by investing in the pillars outlined in the Green New Deal THRIVE Agenda.
After the damage caused by the Trump administration, President Biden’s executive orders to advance equity are a welcome change, but not nearly enough to address white supremacy and the pervasive anti-Blackness that permeates every aspect of our society. The president must both work with Congress and take independent action toward establishing a transformed criminal legal system, investing in the health of Black and Brown young people, committing resources that support safety initiatives outside of policing and work to reduce the prison population.
Finally, we welcome other significant executive orders signed and proposed, including extending the moratorium on student loans during the pandemic, a federal mask mandate, reversing the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization, a commitment to swiftly and equitably distributing COVID-19 treatment, reducing the undue influence of corporate lobbyists going through the revolving door, ensuring Census appointment data includes undocumented immigrants and strengthening efforts to advance the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons overseas.
This historic day must be credited to the Black, Brown and Native communities who delivered this win by turning out to vote in record numbers, overcoming all adversity and obstacles placed in our path. We are relieved to see President Biden acting to undo several of the policies that target these communities on his first day in office, and we hope to see additional bold reforms going forward.”
The Center for Popular Democracy is a national network of more than 50 community organizations dedicated to achieving racial and economic justice through local grassroots organizing. CPD trains and supports leadership, staff, and members to grow base-building organizations to scale and leverage that strength to win cutting-edge policy victories at the federal, state and local level.