Joe Biden initiated a re-entry into the Paris Climate Agreement immediately after his inauguration. The construction of the wall on the border with Mexico is also stopped.
WASHINGTON dpa / afp / bep | US President Joe Biden initiated the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement a few hours after he took office. As announced, the 78-year-old reversed one of the most controversial decisions of his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden signed a corresponding document to the United Nations in Washington on Wednesday. A little later after the World Organization had received it, General Secretary António Guterres officially informed the member states that the USA would become part of the agreement again from February 19.
The United States officially withdrew from the historic United Nations Convention to Limit Climate Change in early November – a year after the US government formally withdrew. The United States has the second highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world after China, with significantly fewer inhabitants. Biden says he wants America to be a leading nation in the fight against global warming.
UN chief Guterres was delighted: “I welcome the steps taken by President Biden to re-enter the Paris Agreement on climate change,” he said. In doing so, the United States joined the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, companies and people who were taking ambitious measures to deal with the climate crisis.
The new US president recently affirmed several times that he wanted to convene a climate summit for the major economic powers in the first 100 days of his term in office. The fact that the new US administration wants to put a special focus on the fight against the climate crisis was also shown by a personnel decision Biden: With the former US Secretary of State John Kerry, a political heavyweight is taking up the position of special climate envoy in the National Security Council of the White House.
Disappointment in Canada
At the same time as the re-entry into the Paris Climate Agreement, Biden planned further steps. This also includes the withdrawal of a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline to Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that they had taken note of the decision, but were “disappointed”.
All parts of the US government apparatus were also instructed to identify environmentally harmful political decisions by the Trump administration and to take appropriate steps. This also includes environmental standards for fuels and emissions.
Biden also reversed the United States’ exit from the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated by Trump. The prominent virologist Anthony Fauci is expected to attend a WHO meeting as a US representative on Thursday. Trump had turned his back on the organization in the dispute over how to deal with the corona pandemic.
Biden also initiated a change of course in the controversial rules for immigration and entry into the United States. Biden distanced himself from his predecessor Donald Trump and signed an order to stop the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico. The new president presented a comprehensive immigration reform on Wednesday (local time) and revoked Trump’s entry ban for people from several Muslim-majority countries.
Not to Mexico immediately
In addition, a controversial practice in asylum procedures has been repealed. In future, asylum seekers from Mexico will no longer be brought back to the neighboring country to wait for the decision on their application there. However, the current travel restrictions at the border due to the corona pandemic remained in force, informed the US Department of Homeland Security.
Trump had agreed with the Mexican government in 2019 that Mexico would temporarily accept asylum seekers again. At the end of last year, around 70,000 people stayed at the US-Mexico border and waited for a decision by the US authorities.
Avideh Moussavian, director of the National Immigration Law Center, welcomed Biden’s decision to lift the entry ban against people from several Muslim countries and said on the NPR radio station that ways must be found to help people harmed by the ban. A few days after taking office in January 2017, Trump had issued the ban.
Biden presented a reform for “humanity and American values” to the US Congress in immigration law. This is intended to open the way to legalization for many undocumented migrants living in the USA. At the same time, the reform paper contains measures to secure borders with “technological means”. With economic aid programs for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the government of Biden wants to tackle root causes of migration.
According to a calculation by the research institute Pew Research Center, around 10.5 million migrants in the USA live without valid papers.