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Biden has signed numerous executive orders reversing Trump’s policies.
Many of your voters probably view the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and his predecessor in the White House, Donald Trump, as polar opposites.
If you judge by the large number of policies of the real estate mogul that the new president has tried to reverse through executive decisions in the first two weeks of his government, that seems to be the case.
This Tuesday, Biden re-signed a series of orders aimed at reversing the heavy-handed immigration policy of his predecessor.
And in his first week in the White House alone, Biden signed 21 executive orders, more than the sum of those issued in the same period by the previous four US presidents, from Bill Clinton in 1994 to Trump in 2016.
The objective of a substantial part of these decisions has been to reverse policies applied by Trump.
Biden has already ordered the re-entry of the United States into the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization, stopped the construction of the border wall with Mexico, ended the veto that prevented the arrival of travelers from a group of predominantly Muslim countries and returned to open the doors for transgender people to enter the Armed Forces, among other things.
All of these were controversial decisions imposed by Trump using his presidential powers.
However, there are other controversial policies of the previous government that have survived the onslaught of the new president against the legacy of his predecessor.
BBC Mundo tells you which are 5 of these policies.
1. Abraham Agreements
One of the milestones that marked the Trump administration’s foreign policy legacy are the so-called Abraham Accords, through which – thanks to the patronage of the United States – Israel normalized its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
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Trump announced the agreement for the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on August 13.
Signed in 2020, these agreements were presented at the time by the White House as a step forward in the search for peace in the Middle East, by facilitating the establishment of relations between the Jewish state and Arab countries, something almost unprecedented because until then Israel it only maintained formal relations with Egypt and Jordan.
These new agreements were criticized because they indirectly weakened the position of the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, since historically one of the ways in which the Arab countries had supported them was through their refusal to recognize the Jewish state.
Another criticism of these agreements was that to make them a reality, the United States made some important concessions such as agreeing to sell 50 next-generation F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates.
Last week, the new US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, backed these deals, calling them “a very positive development” and announcing that the Biden presidency plans to build its policies on them.
However, the new government has also announced that it will review the sale of the fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, something that – although it is considered a usual procedure when there are changes of government – could affect these agreements if Washington ends up withdrawing from the operation.
One policy with which Donald Trump made a key difference from his predecessors in the White House of the past 40 years was the adoption of a policy of open confrontation with China.
Image source, Reuters
Biden is not new to the government or his relationship with China: in this photo, in 2013, when he was Obama’s vice president.
Although the presidents before him had not avoided criticizing Beijing on issues such as the human rights situation or its trade practices, Trump not only took a tougher tone but launched a trade war with China and adopted sanctions against some of its flagship companies such as Huawei.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Blinken said that he believed Trump was right to take a tougher stance on Beijing and that he has no doubt that the nation represents the most significant challenge for the United States.
The new secretary of state also said that he agreed with the opinion of his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, who pointed out that China is committing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
As for the trade war, Biden has said that he will rush on issues such as lifting tariffs and that he would apply policies against China’s “abusive practices” such as “theft of intellectual property, illegal subsidies to companies “or the forced technology transfers that US companies are required to do to operate in China.
Thus, experts anticipate that the main difference between Trump and Biden’s policy towards China will lie in the methods and forms: while the ex-president chose to act unilaterally, Biden is expected to seek allies on the international scene to deal with Beijing.
3. Financial aid of US $ 2,000
When in mid-December, the United States Congress reached an agreement for a second package of economic aid in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, which included checks for US $ 600 for each citizen, Trump threatened to veto the agreement if that amount was not increased. up to US $ 2,000.
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Trump even threatened to block the entire stimulus package for the economy if payments to citizens were not increased to US $ 2,000.
The then president said the approved amount was “ridiculously low.”
That position was fully shared with Biden, who at the time called the approved aid “a down payment” and said that much more money would be needed.
After his arrival at the White House, the new president has maintained that position to the point that his new plan to stimulate the economy includes a check for US $ 1,400 for each American, which will serve to complete the amount set by Trump in December of US $ 2,000.
4. The migratory agreements with Mexico and Central America?
Reversing Trump’s immigration policies is what Biden has most actively worked on.
From the election campaign, it was clear that one of his goals was to “restore” the asylum and refugee system in the United States.
The new president accuses Trump of having acted to the detriment of the American tradition of welcoming those persecuted from different parts of the world, imposing numerous limitations on their entry and stay in the country.
These measures include the Protocol for the Protection of Migrants (PPM), which establishes that applicants to request asylum in the United States who arrive first in Mexico must wait in that country until they receive a response to their request.
The Trump administration also signed the so-called “safe third country” agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which allow these countries to welcome people seeking asylum in the United States into their territories.
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Trump tried to block the transit of caravans to the United States with thousands of migrants from Central America.
During the presidential campaign, Biden claimed that the PPM would be eliminated on his first day in office.
However, once elected, during a press conference in December, Biden qualified his promise.
“This is going to be done and it will be done soon but it will not be possible to do it on the first day,” he said, warning that he could not lift all existing restrictions suddenly as he would risk ending up with an additional crisis that would complicate the efforts of your government.
After almost two weeks in the White House, this Tuesday Biden finally addressed the issue of the PPM by signing an executive order in which, however, he still does not eliminate this mechanism, but instead orders his government officials to review this program that it has forced thousands of Central Americans to wait for asylum in camps on the Mexican side of the border.
During the first phone call between Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, they both spoke about reversing the “draconian measures” on immigration imposed by the Trump administration.
However, they also referred to “increasing resettlement capacity,” according to the summary of the call released by the White House.
This raises doubts as to whether the new government plans to completely eliminate this program or whether it aims to seek a different formula but one that also includes the possibility that Mexico will continue to welcome Central Americans who seek asylum or refuge in the United States.
The idea of relocating asylum seekers is also present among the proposals that Biden handled as a candidate on the immigration issue.
According to the website of his campaign, to address this issue the new president plans to convene a regional summit that includes the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Canada “to address the factors that drive migration and propose a regional resettlement solution “.
It remains to be seen how different this “resettlement solution” will be from the current agreements with Mexico and Central America.
5. Venezuela, Guaidó and Maduro
The Trump administration was the first in the world to recognize the opposition Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela in January 2019, after the president of that country, Nicolás Maduro, was re-elected to office in elections that a large part of the international community considered fraudulent.
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In 2020, Juan Guaidó was applauded in the United States Congress by both Republicans and Democrats.
From there, Trump imposed a series of strong sanctions not only on members of the Maduro government but also on the Venezuelan oil industry, that country’s main source of foreign currency.
Last January, the countries of the European Union decided to stop recognizing Guaidó as interim president, due to the expiration of the constitutional period for which the National Assembly that he presided had been elected.
However, Trump chose to maintain that recognition and the new US administration announced that it will do the same.
Although Biden has criticized some of Trump’s policies on Venezuela – such as his veiled threats to use force to force regime change in the country – the new president agrees with his predecessor in describing Maduro as a “tyrant” and is supporter of increasing sanctions on the government and its allies.
Biden has also called for other countries to recognize Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader and advocates for the release of political prisoners and for the holding of new elections in Venezuela.
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