President Biden is expected to use his executive authority this week to disavow racism and xenophobia toward Asian Americans, specifically targeting anti-Asian animus connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. This action is expected on Tuesday, multiple people familiar with the plan told CBS News.
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The directives, which may take the form of an executive order or a presidential memo, are expected to be part of a package of executive actions focusing on “equity,” according to two people familiar with the plans. The other administrative actions are expected to focus on Tribal governments, fair housing, and private prisons. The Biden administration has told outside groups it is also preparing measures on voting rights.
According to a draft calendar of impending executive actions distributed to outside advocacy groups and viewed by CBS News, the administration is planning to take actions related to climate on Wednesday, health care on Thursday, and immigration on Friday.
The Biden transition team and White House Domestic Policy Council have been preparing executive action geared toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for weeks and discussed tenets of the presidential order with several outside groups, three of these advisers said.
Drafts of the forthcoming executive order have contained a mix of both symbolic and real government action. Some of the elements discussed are likely not to make it into the final text of the executive order, according to the people involved in discussions with the White House.
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The Biden directives are expected to include guidance to the Department of Justice instructing it to assist with more accurate data collection and reporting of hate incidents and harassment toward Asian Americans. There were more than 2,800 self-reported hate incidents, ranging from racial slurs to physical violence.
The Biden executive order is also expected to direct federal agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to examine whether there are xenophobic references like “China virus” in any existing policies, directives or government websites published by the Trump administration.
A CBS News review of COVID-19-related executive orders issued by the Trump administration did not find any specific reference to “China virus,” the term the former president often used for the pandemic. But if the term is found in existing policies, the forthcoming executive action is expected to order its removal.