Washington, D.C.— In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and the incoming administration’s transition team, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous today set forth urgent recommendations for early actions the new administration should take. The list of priorities includes judicial nominations, democracy reform, undoing cruel Trump-era immigration policies, restoring and strengthening civil rights, and combating police violence, among others. The list is focused on actions that can be accomplished quickly by the president and executive branch, recognizing the potential challenges of legislation if the Senate remains in GOP hands.
“This is a moment of great promise and potential, when the new president can restore hope and relieve suffering for millions of people. Whatever happens with control of the Senate, the president and executive branch have significant power to effect change in their first days on the job. We are stating unequivocally right now that this opportunity must be used to immediately address damage to civil and human rights done by the last administration, and take important steps to rebuild and improve our democracy,” said Ben Jealous.
Among other things, the letter states that the new president and executive branch must take immediate executive action in the following areas:
· Nominating fair-minded federal judges and justices who are committed to protecting civil and human rights.
· Reversing illegal efforts by the Trump administration to restrict who gets counted in the 2020 census.
· Moving to halt state and local efforts to restrict voting rights, while restoring the role of the Department of Justice as the nation’s primary protector of voting rights and civil rights.
· Initiating all possible efforts to reunite migrant children and families separated at the border by the Trump administration.
· Empowering the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to investigate and curtail abuses by state and local law enforcement.
· Fully resuming the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
· Reversing the Trump-era Muslim ban orders and policies, reopening the door to settling refugees, and reversing the Trump administration’s changes to the public charge rule.
· Addressing the issue of religious liberty in a way that defines it as a shield to protect everyone’s ability to exercise their religion, not a sword that justifies discrimination or harm.
· Reversing a Trump executive order preventing federal agencies, contractors, and grantees from embracing policies to advance diversity and equal opportunity.
· Establishing guidance with regard to a necessary-use-of-force standard that allows police use of force only as a last resort.
· Directing the Department of Justice to explore limiting or ending the qualified immunity doctrine that insulates police officials from liability for serious misconduct.
While the current status of COVID relief in Congress is in negotiation, People For also recognizes that the Biden-Harris administration will have much work to do to address unmet economic and public health needs created by the pandemic. The steps the administration can take will evolve to meet those needs.
You can read the letter here: https://files.pfaw.org/uploads/2020/12/2020-12-17-PFAWletter-TransitionPriorities.pdf
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org.