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President Biden to Sign Executive Actions Restoring America’s Place in World
February 5, 2021


February 4, 2021

President Biden to Sign Executive Actions 
Restoring America’s Place in World
The Biden-Harris Administration is placing diplomacy back
at the center of United States’ foreign policy.

Today, President Biden is sending a message loud and clear to the rest of the world: America is back.

Since taking office, President Biden has already undertaken a number of steps to strengthen our nation at home and restore our standing in the world. The United States has begun the process of rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, re-engaged the World Health Organization, and pledged to join COVAX. President Biden has signed executive actions to combat climate change, and reversed both the xenophobic and bigoted so-called “Muslim Ban” and the ban on transgender individuals serving in our military. He signed an Executive Order strengthening Buy American provisions to help the American middle class succeed in a global economy, and has surged resources to combating COVID-19. And earlier this week, the President has taken additional actions to rebuild and strengthen our immigration system, centered on the basic premise that America is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair, orderly and humane immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country. Through early outreach to friends and partners, we are rebuilding crucial alliances that will help us face the challenges of the 21st century in harmony with like-minded nations.

Today, President Biden is taking additional action to reassert our values on the world stage, to restore clarity and leadership to how America makes its foreign policy, and to support and empower the national security professionals who execute our policies, building a modern national security force that looks like the nation it serves.

Leading with Our Values: Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World

Restoring our historic, bipartisan policy of generous support to refugees is central to a values-based foreign policy that demonstrates American moral leadership on the world stage. Today President Biden approved executive actions to:

Restore one of America’s most deeply valued programs: the United States’ refugee admissions program. Today’s Executive Order will launch administrative reforms efforts to allow us to reach our goal of increasing refugee admissions to 125,000 in the first full fiscal year of the Biden-Harris Administration.  This Executive Order will 1) rescind policies from the previous administration that limited refugee resettlement and required excessive vetting of applicants, 2) improve USRAP’s efficacy, integrity, security, and transparency, 3) expand refugee adjudication capacity, 4) enhance access for the most vulnerable refugees, including women, children, and those at risk of persecution because of their gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and 5) review the current Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program for Iraqis and Syrians, including considering whether to pursue legislation for a SIV program for individuals who serve the United States in conflict areas. President Biden also intends to propose a raise in refugee admissions for this fiscal year, after appropriate consultation with Congress.

Protect and Promote Human Rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world. President Biden strongly believes all people should be treated with respect and dignity, and be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love. Today, he will sign aPresidential Memorandum to protect and promote the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world. This Memorandum builds on guidance first issued by President Obama in 2011, and directs relevant federal agencies to engage constructively to advance protections for the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons abroad. We demonstrate leadership on human rights by reinforcing protections for the most vulnerable, including LGBTQI+ persons. This Memorandum restores clarity to the U.S. position by directing all departments and agencies engaged abroad to ensure that our diplomacy and foreign assistance promotes and protects the rights of LGBTQI+ persons, including combating the criminalization of LGBTQI+ status or conduct, enhancing our range of diplomatic responses to protect human rights abuses of LGBTQI+ persons, building coalitions with civil society and international organizations, requiring annual reporting by the State Department on human rights abuses experienced by LGBTQI+ persons globally, and rescinding inconsistent policies within 100 days of signing.

Revitalizing America’s National Security Workforce, Institutions, and Partnerships

To reclaim our place in the world, the Biden-Harris administration will undertake a bold and sustained effort to revitalize and modernize the national security workforce, ensuring that it reflects the full diversity of the United States, and renewing and modernizing our national security institutions and partnerships.

In all of today’s actions, President Biden is centering the integrity and judgment of America’s public servants. Their oath is to the Constitution of the United States, and these career officials have the responsibility and obligation to serve the public interest by offering their expert views and judgments without regard to the political preferences of the Administration and without fear of reprisal or retribution.

President Biden will sign a National Security Memorandum to:

Modernize how the national security community recruits, retains, and empowers its workforce to lead on new and emerging national security challenges. This NSM will also ensure that our national security workforce reflects the unparalleled talent and diversity of our nation. It will establish an interagency working group to develop proposals to recruit, retain, and support national security professions, including creating additional pathways for Americans with skills in critical areas such as cyber, technology, and science, technology, engineering, and math to engage in public service. It also organizes the national security community to better work with outside partners, including state and local governments, colleges and universities, and civil society.

Organizing and Strengthening the National Security Council (NSC)

President Biden will sign a National Security Memorandum to:Outline the structure of the National Security Council and the manner in which the Biden administration will pursue our most important objective: the safety, security, and prosperity of the American people. Today’s interlocking challenges require a new and broader understanding of national security, one that recognizes that traditional national security, economic security, health security, and environmental security are all linked. The Biden NSC structure will reflect the cross-cutting nature of our most critical national challenges by more regularly integrating cabinet officials from domestically-focused agencies into national security decision-making. President Biden has also made clear that his National Security Council will bring professionalism, respect, transparency, inclusivity, collaboration, collegiality, and accountability to its work. Above all, the Biden administration will respect the rule of law and act consistently with our values.