Biden takes executive action on racial divide

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on January 26, 2021 - Duration: 02:07s

Biden takes executive action on racial divide

U.S. President Joe Biden signed four executive orders on Tuesday (Jan.

26), including one to curb the U.S. government’s use of private prisons and another to bolster anti-discrimination enforcement in housing.

Lisa Bernhard produced this report.

Biden takes executive action on racial divide

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: "This first executive order is a memorandum for the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to redress our nation's and the federal government's history of discriminatory housing practices and policies." President Joe Biden took executive actions on Tuesday to reduce discrimination in the housing market and to scale back the U.S. government's use of private prisons.

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: "The executive order directs the Attorney General to decline to renew contracts with privately operated criminal facilities, a step we started to take at the end of the Obama administration, and was reversed under the previous administration." They are among several steps being taken by Biden to roll back policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, and to promote racial justice reforms that he pledged to address during his campaign.

Under the new policies, the Justice Department will not renew contracts with private prison operators.

Advocates have said that privately operated prisons have contributed to an increase in incarceration rates and have treated inmates poorly.

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: "And it is just the beginning of my administration's plan to address systemic problems in our nation's criminal justice system." Criminal justice and police reform advocates have called for a broader set of policy steps, including banning the use of the death penalty and reducing the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement.

Talks in Congress toward police reform stalled late in Trump's presidency despite widespread protests against the police killings of Black Americans – with the death of George Floyd while in police custody last May serving as a major tipping point in the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Biden administration's newly announced fair-housing policy will require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to study and counteract the racially discriminatory impacts of previous policies.

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: "Housing is a right in America and home ownership is an essential tool to wealth creation and to be passed down to generations." Biden’s other actions on Tuesday included underscoring the federal government’s commitment to Native American tribal sovereignty and condemning anti-Asian bias.

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