WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden signed four executive orders Tuesday afternoon to advance racial equity.
“I ran for president because I believe we’re in a battle for the soul of this nation, and the simple truth is our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist,” Biden said at a signing ceremony. You can watch his full remarks in the player above.
Under the new policies, the Justice Department will not renew contracts with private prison operators. Advocates have said privately operated prisons have contributed to an increase in incarceration rates and treated inmates poorly.
“Mass incarceration imposes significant costs on our society and communities, while private prisons profiteer off of federal prisoners in less safe conditions for prisoners and correctional officers alike,” the Biden administration said in a fact sheet.
Domestic Policy advisor Susan Rice spoke at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon and confirmed that that Biden’s order applies to only private prisons run by the Justice Department and not other federal agencies.
Biden also directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to study and remedy the racially discriminatory impacts of federal housing policies “that have contributed to wealth inequality for generations,” the White House said.
He also recommitted the federal government to respect tribal sovereignty and his fourth action combats xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Rice said that Biden has ordered a “comprehensive assessment” on the threats of white nationalism from the intelligence community. Rice said the Biden administration was taking white nationalism “quite seriously.”
“Tackling these challenges, though, is personal for me,” said Rice of Biden’s racial equity agenda. “For too many American families, systemic racism and inequality in our economy, laws and institutions still put the American Dream far out of reach.”
You can watch the full press briefing in the player below:
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.