President Biden’s 100-Day Successes help San Ramon

Gaby Jimenez, Opinions Editor

Opinion columns reflect the view of the staff writer.

Tomorrow marks the 100th day of Joe Biden’s term, including Inauguration Day. His election as president gave us the promise that all of America, including our own San Ramon, will soon go back to normal and even improve. And although we don’t often view national legislation from a local lens, Biden’s priorities have benefited our local area, even in just the first 100 days.

On March 11, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. It will send working families up to $1,400.

San Ramon’s many families will feel an increase in quality of life with the boosting of the Child Tax Credit. For eligible families, the Child Tax Credit will increase to $3,600 for children under six and $3,00 for children between six and seventeen, and will now be fully refundable.

Additionally, the American Rescue Plan will allocate $65 billion in aid to cities for coronavirus relief. San Ramon will get an estimated allocation of more than $14 million. With these funds, we are able to fix problems regarding water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure problems, provide support for essential workers, and respond to public health emergencies along with the economic effects that come with it.

The need for public transit during the pandemic has also been taken into consideration as the American Rescue Plan includes a $30.5 billion emergency fund for transportation. The American Rescue Plan Act is expected to provide more aid to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), helping boost the Bay Area’s transportation network, though no dollar estimate is available currently.

This will help supplement the $274 million BART was approved to receive as a result of last year’s Coronavirus Response and Relief Appropriations Act.

Further working to give support to the people of America, Biden has sent Congress the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. This bill is part of Biden’s commitment to working toward modernity by fixing our immigration system to be more safe, and secure for current and future American citizens.

Immigrants coming to America looking for citizenship can do so by first applying for a nonpermanent legal status. After five years, they are eligible to get green cards as long as they fit the requirements of passing national security background checks, criminal checks, and paying their taxes. After three years of holding a green card, more background checks, and understanding of English and civics of the U.S., eligibility for permanent citizenship is granted.

Families hoping to smoothly transition from immigrants to American citizens while staying together will have no trouble with Biden’s bill. Visas that have been left unused will be recaptured so more immigrants will have access to visas that will help them stay in America. The usual long waiting times for immigrants to see if they are qualified to stay in the U.S. will be cut shorter. Backlogs, which cause immigrant asylum seekers to wait up to five years until hearings, will be cleared out. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants can wait years for a hearing and some even die before they can apply.

These new and fair regulations will overhaul our immigration system and give more residents the opportunity to access the American Dream, including San Ramon’s own non-citizens, who make up 15 percent of our population.

Welcoming diversity and being open to positive changes that are immigrants yet to be United States citizens is what this country needs. President Biden’s empathy toward helping new Americans is a moving first step.

This February, the House of Representatives approved the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act (PAW+) bill, which will protect landscapes in California, among other western states. Public water and lands will be conserved and the communities will be protected from the effects of climate change. Los Padres National Forest near Big Sur is one of these landscapes. A new trail, the Condor National Scenic Trail, would be constructed to join the two disconnected parts of the National Forest. Additionally, with the help of nongovernmental organizations, and local agencies, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland will rehabilitate damaged forests in the Redwood National and State Parks that have been overlooked by the effects of climate change.

During his first day in office, Biden took a big step to include the United States in helping decrease the effects of climate change by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This agreement will address the negative effects of our changing climate by communicating with all countries willing to take action.

The main goal of the agreement is to globally reduce emissions of greenhouse gases with the intention of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees celsius. All countries with major greenhouse gas emissions have the commitment to limiting their climate pollution. America, being the second country with the most greenhouse gas emissions at 5.41 gigatons in 2018, is one of these countries.

As San Ramon residents, we are quite familiar with California “fire seasons” that have been major disasters as an undeniable consequence of climate change. The California 2020 fire season had a record-breaking number of wildfires that led to over 10.3 million acres being burned. Warmer temperatures from climate change increase the probability of severe wildfires, which will lead to more deaths and damaged infrastructure. Taking control of changes in our climate will keep out California’s familiar scent of smoke and views of fiery orange skies.

With our government’s recommitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, America will finally be a part of the conversation on global warming. And with support from many world leaders, we’re one step closer to saving the Earth.

Within Biden’s first 100 days in office, his election has proved to be a success for the American people, and San Ramon residents. With all of Biden’s many bills that are yet to be laws, the United States will be on the right track of ending the coronavirus pandemic, managing immigration issues, and fixing the poor conditions of our Earth. From these feats so far, there is no doubt Biden will bring much more to help fix this nation and our local area.