President Biden on Wednesday reversed a series of actions issued by former President Trump, lifting certain visa bans, undoing an order that sought to set new standards for federal architecture and revoking a memo that called for potential funding cuts to cities that saw major protests last summer.
The White House issued an executive order that undid several Trump actions in one swoop. Among those targeted were the orders on architecture and funding reviews for "lawless zones," as well as measures that restricted labor rights for civilian Pentagon workers and rolled back regulations during the pandemic.
Trump in September signed a five-page memo ordering federal agency heads to submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget detailing all federal funds provided to Seattle, Portland, New York City and Washington, D.C., with the potential to strip those jurisdictions of federal money.
The move came after each of those cities saw large protests during the summer against racial injustice, with protests in Portland in particular turning violent at times. Trump used those demonstrations as a rallying cry to support law enforcement, which had come under criticism after a rash of killings of Black people at the hands of police.
Trump also signed an order last December titled "Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture" in which he declared federal buildings "should uplift and beautify public spaces, inspire the human spirit, ennoble the United States, and command respect from the general public."
Biden separately reversed a Trump proclamation that was twice extended that suspended the issuance of H-1B visas, H-2B visas, H-4 visas, L-1 visas and certain J-1 visas. The former president had extended those restrictions through the end of March before leaving office.
The Trump administration argued the visa bans were necessary amid the coronavirus pandemic to ensure American workers were protected as the economy slowly rebounded. But in revoking the measure, Biden argued it harmed the country, in part "by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here.
"It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world," Biden said in the revocation.
Many of Biden's actions during the first month of his presidency have been focused on undoing the actions of his predecessor. He reversed Trump's decisions to leave the Paris climate accords and the World Health Organization, rescinded a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline and issued an order aimed at strengthening the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program after Trump attempted to end it.