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6 actions we’re ready for the Biden administration to take come Inauguration Day

Oxfam staff outside Congress as part of the Global Climate Strike in September 2019. Photo: Oxfam America

You raised your voice with tens of thousands of Oxfam supporters. And now it’s time for the Biden administration to deliver on its promises.

Over the last four years Oxfam supporters have fought the good fight. We raised our voices against discriminatory policies and actions that put refugees and essential workers in harm’s way. We demanded US leadership on climate action, inequality, and the fight for gender equality. Together, we issued a loud and clear call for justice and dignity.

Now it’s time again to hold the powerful accountable. In partnership with individuals and communities on the front lines, you have spoken up and demanded change. Here are six actions that we would like to see the Biden administration take on or soon after Inauguration Day.

1. Repeal the Muslim Ban

Isra Chaker, Oxfam's refugee campaign lead, speaks out against the Supreme Court's decision on the Muslim Ban in June 2018. Photo: Oxfam America

What you did: Oxfam supporters challenged this symbol of bigotry and divisiveness every step of the way. You joined protests at airports, the White House, and the Supreme Court. When the Trump administration expanded the ban, you signed petitions to let President Trump know—and the world—that we opposed it. And Oxfam supporters made hundreds of calls to Congress supporting the NO BAN Act, which passed the House of Representatives in July and would prevent any such ban from ever being implemented again.

What we expect: President-elect Biden has pledged to put an end to the Muslim Ban by executive order on his first day in office.

2. Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement

Oxfam staff outside Boston City Hall as part the Global Climate Strike in September 2019. Photo: Oxfam America

What you did: When President Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2017, Oxfam supporters responded with a resounding rejoinder: “I’m still in.” Through our Dignity for All effort, you called on the next President to rejoin Paris, increase US funding for climate aid and finance, help decrease emissions from our food system, and make sure that women and indigenous groups have a seat at the table to make plans and decisions on climate change.

What we expect: President-elect Biden has committed to re-entering the Paris agreement by executive order on his first day in office. He has also pledged to get other major polluters to ramp up their climate action commitments and expand US spending on clean energy and climate work overseas.

3. Ensure safe and healthy workplaces for workers across the US during COVID-19 crisis

Photo: Oxfam America staff with Farm Labor Organizing Committee and Teamsters staff outside the Whole Food headquarters in Austin, Texas. Photo: Oxfam America

What you did: In June of 2020, Oxfam delivered more than 50,000 petition signatures to some of the biggest US grocery stores, demanding better health and safety protections for their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. By also joining our coalition partners to protect poultry workers in processing plants from contracting the coronavirus, Oxfam supporters took action to demand these essential workers—mainly women and people of color—not have to choose between their income and their lives.

What we expect: The Biden administration will start developing clear and enforceable requirements for employers on what they must do to protect workers during the pandemic—and begin aggressively enforcing them. We anticipate an announcement about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency rule-making process within the first days of the new administration.

4. Stop US arms sales for war in Yemen

A picture of a home destroyed by airstrikes in Sana’a in May 2019. Photo: Bassam Al-Thulaya/Oxfam Yemen

What you did: Since 2016, Oxfam supporters have sent letters to Congress calling on the US to stop selling bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—actions that have fueled the worst humanitarian disaster on the planet. In 2019 Congress heeded your call, but President Trump vetoed the legislation that would have blocked the arms sales.

What we expect: President-elect Biden has promised to end the US role in the war, including ending arms sales. He could announce this action through a statement of the National Security Council—or he could announce it personally—in the early days of the Biden administration.

5. Create the White House Council on Gender Equality

Art and music continue to be part of campaigns in El Salvador to change entrenched attitudes about gender violence in the country. Photo: René Figueroa / Oxfam America

What you did: From celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month in March on social media to calling on the next President to protect the human rights of gender-diverse peoples, Oxfam supporters have put the fight for gender equality front and center. This includes a specific call for the Biden administration to create an Office of Gender Equality at the White House that would represent the interests of women and gender-diverse people and illuminate the intersectional impacts of policy-making.

What we expect: Biden has stated in his Agenda for Women that he intends to create a White House Council on Gender Equality. This will require an executive order and can be accomplished fairly quickly after Inauguration Day.

6. Protect refugees and immigrants

Resettled refugees Abdi Iftin, Uyen Nguyen, Ghassan Shehadeh and Eiman Ali joined Oxfam at President Trump’s childhood home to support refugees. Photo: Chris Gregory/Oxfam

What you did: President Trump’s xenophobic policies—from separating children at the border to slashing refugee admissions to historic lows—are an affront to fundamental American values of welcome, inclusion, and tolerance. Oxfam supporters have demanded the US re-open its doors to people fleeing persecution, protect immigrants from detention and deportation, and reunite children with their parents.

What we expect: President-elect Biden will begin dismantling the Trump administration’s cruel policies at the border, ending the expulsion of people without due process and reuniting families. He has promised to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects hundreds of thousands of people brought to the US as children from deportation. He has also committed to rebuild the refugee resettlement program and welcome refugees on a scale commensurate with growing global need.

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