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Nevada Democrats praise Biden executive orders on mask mandate, DACA and climate action

Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez
Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez
Joe Biden

Hours after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden signed more than a dozen executive orders that address the COVID-19 pandemic, climate action, immigration and more. 

Biden set the pace for his administration with executive orders that include cutting the funding for the construction of the border wall with Mexico and re-enlisting the U.S. in the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization, garnering praise from Nevada Democrats and progressives.  

“Actions like mandating masks for federal agencies and property and rejoining the World Health Organization will help us defeat COVID-19,” Sen. Jacky Rosen said in a press release. 

Included among the executive orders and presidential memoranda Biden signed are measures to:

  • Implement a national mask mandate, requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, among all federal government employees and on all federal land. The order includes a “100 Days Masking Challenge,” encouraging all Americans to wear masks during Biden’s first 100 days in office. Nevada has a mask mandate in place under the state mitigation protocol.
  • Create a COVID-19 Response Coordinator position, to report directly to Biden on efforts regarding the production and distribution of vaccines and medical equipment 
  • Rejoin the World Health Organization, with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci leading the U.S. delegation, following Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the global organization last year
  • Undo the “travel ban” prohibiting entry to the U.S. for people from Muslim-majority countries
  • End construction on the border wall with Mexico by terminating the national emergency Trump declared, funneling billions of federal funding for construction to the project 
  • Preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is still facing legal challenges after surviving a Supreme Court decision in June. Biden is calling for Congress to approve legislation giving DACA recipients permanent residency and providing a path to citizenship. DACA currently protects more than 12,000 recipients across Nevada.
  • Amend Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation priorities to focus on national security and public safety threats. Currently, undocumented immigrants detained by law enforcement for misdemeanors such as driving over the speed limit can be deported. Chance encounters with local law enforcement have affected undocumented immigrants in Nevada
  • Require undocumented immigrants to be included in the 2020 Census count after Trump had ordered to exclude the population. Undocumented immigrants make up more than 7 percent of Nevada’s population, the highest rate of any state in the country. 
  • Extend work permits and deportation protection for Liberians through June 2022 
  • Extend the pause on student loan payments and interest on federal loans until Sept. 30, originally set to expire at the end of the month 
  • Extend the national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until March 31. Gov. Steve Sisolak previously extended the Nevada statewide moratorium through March 31. 
  • Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, which will be a 30-day process. In 2019, Sisolak signed Nevada onto the U.S. Climate Alliance, which fulfills objectives of the Paris Climate Accord. 
  • Revoke the presidential permit allowing operation of the Keystone XL pipeline flowing from Canada through the U.S. Midwest, among other reviews to be conducted in order to reverse other environmental regulations rescinded by Trump
  • Terminate Trump’s 1776 Commission, established by Trump to “promote patriotic education”
  • Prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Undo Trump’s regulatory approval process, freezing last-minute actions 
  • Require executive branch officials to sign an ethics pledge 

The Nevada Conservation League also lauded Biden’s early moves on climate action, noting the state is heavily affected by climate change. 

"Nevada has simultaneously borne the brunt of climate change — with Las Vegas and Reno named two of the fastest warming cities in the nation — while also enacting policies to protect our public lands, invest in renewable energy, and significantly reduce statewide pollution,” Executive Director Paul Selberg said in a press release. 

Rep. Dina Titus praised the extensions of the federal eviction moratorium and pause on student loan payments. 

“The executive order just signed by @POTUS to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums along with the pause on student loan payments will make a real difference for Southern Nevadans. Thank you for acting immediately to help those who are struggling to make ends meet,” Titus wrote on Twitter.

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