Today marks the 100th day of the Biden administration in the United States.
In January, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) set four key priorities for the President Biden’s first 100 days – from COVID-19 to immigration and policing – that will help restore trust in science and protect health and human rights.
PHR has been keeping a close eye on the activities and efforts of this administration, and we are proud to release our scorecard assessing the progress it has made against the health and human rights priorities we laid out.
So, what’s the score? The new administration has made great strides on a lot of critical issues in these first 100 days – but there is still much work to be done. Keep reading to learn how we graded the administration and share our scorecard on social media.
Here’s our key:
1. Act Urgently on COVID-19
With the pandemic raging at the beginning of President Biden’s term, we called on his administration to act urgently on COVID-19.
The first step was to mitigate the spread of the virus. We were proud to see Biden position science at the forefront of his administration and answer our call to implement a national mask mandate, following the recommendation by public health experts.
Next, vaccines began to roll out in the United States. While the country has successfully administered hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, equity is still lagging badly. Biden must ensure vaccines are accessible for all and commit to the People’s Vaccine Campaign (of which PHR is a convener), whose mission is to make vaccines available to everyone, everywhere, free of charge.
The last year of the pandemic also revealed the attacks and dangerous conditions that frontline health care workers have too often faced. We need to see more action from the Biden administration to restore trust in public health experts and strengthen worker protections in U.S. health care settings.
2. Restrict Excessive Force in Policing
The 2020 murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, MN shone a bright light on the structural racism and gaping disparities in policing that have existed for decades. PHR has called for significant action from the Biden administration to restrict excessive force in policing.
We are hopeful about the administration’s work to set national guidelines for police use of force and to end qualified immunity, as seen in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that passed the House, and we encourage Biden to pursue steps through other federal offices.
However, we have yet to see significant action to ban dangerous crowd-control weapons that can cause serious injury, disability, or even death. While there has been promising movement on state and local levels, we urge the Biden administration to step up limits at the federal level.
Biden must not only promote accountability and transparency around police killings and excessive force by law enforcement, but promote alternative models of crisis response, and support communities by increasing investments in social services, health, employment, and education. The administration should also enforce and strengthen national standards on reporting deaths in police custody and end dangerous and discriminatory practices in police encounters.
3. Protect Asylum Seekers at the U.S. Border
Because of the Trump-era Title 42 order, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers are denied the chance to have their cases heard and are, instead, expelled to dangerous border towns. Biden must end Title 42 immediately and restore access to seek asylum at the border.
The administration is also tasked with reunifying families separated by the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies. PHR is encouraged by Biden’s family separation task force, and we will continue seeking justice and accountability for separated migrant families.
We are also pushing Biden to end child and family detention, and scale up community-based alternatives to detention. The administration continues to build influx facilities, instead of scaling up the humane alternatives, and continues to detain families at the border. This must change – immediately.
4. Restore U.S. Leadership in the International Community
Finally, the Biden administration has illustrated its willingness to recommit the United States to multilateral engagement, by re-engaging with the United Nations and World Health Organization and reversing sanctions on the International Criminal Court. Especially as we fight a global pandemic, we need global cooperation.
We hope you’ll join us in urging the Biden administration to tackle these key priorities to advance health and human rights. Take action now!