According to a memo that incoming President Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff is circulating, Biden intends to take several actions on his first day in office including a federal mask-wearing requirement for interstate transportation and repealing President Trump’s Muslim ban.
On his first day in office alone, Mr. Biden intends a flurry of executive orders that will be partly substantive and partly symbolic. They include rescinding the travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries, rejoining the Paris climate change accord, extending pandemic-related limits on evictions and student loan payments, issuing a mask mandate for federal property and interstate travel and ordering agencies to figure out how to reunite children separated from families after crossing the border..
The mask rule will simply require something that is… already required. It isn’t clear whether any changes to airline mask rules will follow as a result of specific language in the new President’s order. For instance United, American and Southwest require masks on everyone two years old and older, and do not permit medical exemptions, while Delta entertains exemptions for young children and for medical reasons. Aside from these edge conformity cases the move is almost entirely symbolic.
Reversing the Muslim ban means rescinding Executive Order 13780 which prohibits entry into the U.S. by North Koreans and Syrians; Iranians except those on student or exchange visitor visas; most Libyans and Yemenis; by nationals of Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Somalia who intend to enter on immigrant visas; and by Sudanese and Tanzanians on diversity visas. The original version of the rule, Executive Order 13769, blocked entry from Iran; Iraq; Libya; Somalia; Sudan; Syria; and Yemen. It is not clear whether any portion of the current rule will remain in place as a result of President Biden’s intended action on his first day in office.