dpa/GNA – US President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a set of executive actions aimed at promoting racial equity in the United States.

Speaking to reporters from the White House, Biden pledged to address racism in federal housing policies, restore the voting rights act, and eliminate the use of privately-operated criminal detention facilities, among other actions, in an effort to combat the effects of systemic racism.

“Private prisons profiteer off of federal prisoners,” Susan Rice, a White House adviser said on Tuesday.

Over 2 million people are currently incarcerated in the US, with a disproportionate number of people of colour behind bars, according to a White House fact sheet.

The majority of people in prison and jails are in state facilities, which are not impacted by Biden’s executive order on federal prisons.

He also promised to direct federal agencies to combat the resurgence of xenophobia, particularly against Asian Americans, who Biden noted have faced discrimination and hate crimes during the pandemic.

Biden also reversed the Trump administration’s ban on diversity and sensitivity training.

Biden’s presidential campaign has promised to promote racial justice in the US, especially after the police killing of George Floyd in May sparked nationwide protests calling for systematic change to the criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in the US state of Texas has issued a temporary order halting President Joe Biden’s 100-day ban on deportations, in a blow to Biden’s early attempts to reform the US immigration system.

Judge Drew Tipton sided with the state of Texas, which sued the Biden administration seeking to halt the deportation ban, one of Biden’s first acts as president. The government “fails to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations,” Tipton said.

Tipton said Texas had “demonstrated a substantial risk of irreparable harm” because the order could cause an influx of undocumented immigrants to the state. The temporary order may be adjusted in scope after the parties fully brief their positions, Tipton said.

Also on Tuesday Biden said the US will purchase an additional 200 million vaccine doses, split evenly between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Biden said the US will now have access to 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans by summer.

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