Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Credit: Saul Loeb / AP

After taking office on Wednesday, President Joe Biden was set to advance a series of proposals on the coronavirus pandemic, climate and immigration that would have wide and immediate effects across the country and in Maine.

Some amount to reversals of former President Donald Trump’s policies on climate, conservation and immigration. The new president is expected to extend existing moratoriums on federal student loan payments, evictions and foreclosures as he prepares a virus relief bill.

Here are how some of these priorities will affect Maine.

Coronavirus policy

— Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal released last week would include a round of $1,400 stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, money for vaccines, child care assistance, state and local government aid, an expanded child tax credit, housing assistance, grants for hard-hit small businesses and a $15 minimum wage. The relief provisions generally include items Maine Gov. Janet Mills and the state’s congressional delegation have asked for throughout the pandemic, though U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has said the minimum wage issue should be considered separately.

— Biden wants to extend a pause on federal student loan payments through at least Sept. 30, continuing a moratorium that began early in the pandemic but was set to expire at the end of January. Borrowers would not be required to make payments on their federal student loans, their loans would not accrue any interest, and all debt collection activity would halt through September. About 210,000 Mainers have student loans, with people between the ages of 25 and 34 most likely to be in debt and an average loan amount of $32,200, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

— Housing foreclosures and evictions would be delayed under Biden’s plan until at least March 31, 2021. Biden is also calling on Congress to extend assistance to renters. While the moratoriums have aided several million Americans during the pandemic and helped to contain the disease, they have also meant that billions of dollars in housing costs have gone unpaid. Nearly one fifth of Maine adults are living in households that are behind on rent or mortgages and eviction or foreclosure is at least somewhat likely, according to a Census Bureau survey of households.


— Biden is proposing legislation that would grant green cards and a path to citizenship to any undocumented person in the United States before Jan. 1, 2021, an estimated 11 million people. Most would have to wait eight years for citizenship. Maine, which is one of the nation’s whitest states, had the second-smallest estimated population of undocumented immigrants at fewer than 5,000 as of 2016, the Pew Research Center said. It amounts to 9 percent of Maine’s total immigrant population.

— Biden will order his Cabinet to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has shielded hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country as young children from deportation since it was introduced in 2012. Trump ordered an end to DACA in 2017, triggering a legal challenge that ended in June when the Supreme Court ruled that it should be kept in place because the Trump administration failed to follow federal rule-making guidelines in undoing it. Maine had 95 people enrolled in the program as of 2017.

— Biden is ending Trump’s move in January 2017 to ban foreign nationals from seven mostly Muslim countries from entry into the country. A watered-down version of the rule was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018. Two of the nations — Iraq and Somalia — were the countries of origin for a collective 17 percent of immigrants living in greater Portland as of 2016, according to a report from New American Economy done in concert with the local chamber of commerce.

Climate and conservation

— Biden will review the status of Trump’s rollbacks of national monuments, including the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the Gulf of Maine, established by former President Barack Obama as the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean. Trump opened it to commercial fishing on the same day he visited Maine in June. He often hailed the move as a major one for the fishing industry here during his campaign, though the area is out of range for Maine fishermen. The industry still supported Trump’s move, which prompted legal challenges from environmentalists.

— Biden will sign an executive order to rejoin the Paris climate accord, fulfilling a pledge to get back into the global pact on the first day of his administration. In early 2019, Gov. Janet Mills made Maine the 22nd state to agree to abide by the Paris standards after Trump withdrew the country from the agreement nearly two years earlier. It will take 30 days for the U.S. to return.

Bangor Daily News writers Michael Shepherd and Jessica Piper and Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Ellen Knickmeyer, Ben Fox, Elliot Spagat, Matt Lee and Josh Boak contributed to this report.