by Shannon Brady ‘24
Published Oct. 16th, 2021
After weeks of civil and political unrest, Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20th, 2021. In the first ten months of his presidency, Biden oversaw a soaring employment rate yet rising prices of natural resources.
Biden’s term started his term at a unique point in American history: the COVID-19 pandemic. To counteract the virus, Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, funding the vaccination program and boosting PPE. He also expressed his support for vaccinations and issued mandates regarding masks and vaccines.
Among Biden’s first actions as president was his reversal of President Trump’s policies. For example, he revoked the Keystone XL Pipeline permit due to its detrimental impact on the environment. This bold order upset many Canadians, but environmentalists applauded the action as it illustrated that climate change was a priority.
Continuing his environmental agenda, Biden invited 40 world leaders to a Climate Summit in April, announcing he would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half in the next 10 years.
Following mass shootings, Biden issued executive orders that will help tackle gun violence in April 2021. He aims to limit ghost guns, which are firearms lacking serial numbers, and also regulate gun kits and 80 percent lower firearms the same as fully functional firearms.
Along with climate change and gun control, reforming immigration has also been one of Joe Biden’s priorities. Since taking office, there have been over 200,000 migrants at the US-Mexico border, which is about a 45% increase from the top amount under Trump. Biden himself has called for people to not try to cross the border. At the beginning of the year when Biden undid some of the policies implemented by his predecessor, he suspended one known as the Remain In Mexico Policy, which forces people to wait in Mexico in dangerous conditions for a US immigration hearing. However, this policy was reimplemented in August 2021 by the Supreme Court.
Moving on, withdrawing from Afghanistan had been on both Trump’s and Biden’s minds, and in August, this plan was executed. August 31st marked the deadline for the end of the war, and by then, many, but not all, soldiers were evacuated from Afghanistan. The way he administered the mass withdrawal was notably controversial, and Biden was accused of betraying not only Afghanistan but also American principles. Beyond the deadline of August 31st, soldiers were still waiting to be evacuated, along with the Afghans who helped Americans. Furthermore, top generals came forward and said that they had advised Biden to keep troops in Afghanistan, which directly contradicts Biden’s statement that no one warned him against withdrawing. It is evident that there is a lack of communication between Biden and his administration.
Overall, Joe Biden has made many forward actions during his term that address topics of major interest. His response to the COVID-19 pandemic enforced necessary safety protocols and his strong claims to combat climate change are topics that must be watched carefully to see what action will be taken. The polarizing topic of immigration, as well as the withdrawal from Afghanistan, has many Americans in debate as to whether his actions align with their morals. Joe Biden has been inaugurated during a very volatile political climate, and his actions must be carefully observed to see how they may change the course of this country’s history.