The Biden Agenda for the Latino Community
Joe Biden believes that the story of America is one of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The Latino community is a core part of the American community and their contributions are evident in every part of society. Our nation’s ability to draw and welcome hard-working, aspirational people from every culture, from every nation is an indisputable strength. Our diversity is the source of America’s constant renewal – the reason we’ve been able to remake ourselves over and over.
President Trump’s assault on Latino dignity started on the very first day of his campaign. His assault doesn’t just reveal itself in the betrayal of the Dreamers or in the pardoning of a sheriff who has terrorized the Latino community. It’s in the underfunding of schools, in attacks on labor and the ability of workers to bargain for their worth, and in the neglect of Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria. Trump’s strategy is to sow division – to cast out Latinos as being less than fully American.
As President, Biden will ensure everyone is treated with dignity – no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or zip code. And, he will ensure that everyone has a chance to join the middle class, including Latinos and other individuals never given a fair shot in decades past. Today, a full quarter of all children in the U.S. are Latino. Our collective success depends upon the success of the Latino community.
Biden will be ready beginning on Day 1 to implement changes needed for the Latino community to thrive. Biden will:
- Invest in Latinos’ economic mobility.
- Make far-reaching investments in ending health disparities by race.
- Expand access to high-quality education and tackle racial inequity in our education system.
- Combat hate crimes and gun violence.
- Secure our values as a nation of immigrants.
Additionally, in recognition of the unique contributions of Latinos to American history over the past 500 years, Biden will work to establish a Smithsonian National American Latino Museum. Latino history is intricately woven into the history of America and must be preserved and celebrated. These vast contributions are long overdue to be recognized in the family of Smithsonian Museums. As an initial step, Biden will initiate a feasibility study and a site location for the museum. In July 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote – on a bipartisan basis – an act to establish this museum.
Biden will also ensure that political appointees, including the President’s Cabinet, look like the country they serve, and ensure that our federal workforce is representative of the demographics in our country. The Obama-Biden Administration made great progress in building a diverse federal workforce, but Biden knows work remains for the country to fully realize the benefits of the talents, abilities, and perspectives of a workforce that looks like the country. As President, Biden will nominate and appoint people who look like the country they serve and share Biden’s commitment to rigorous enforcement of civil rights protections. This includes promoting diverse leadership for all federal agencies including the financial regulatory agencies that have a direct impact on the nature of our entire economic system; working with all branches of government, including the Senate and Supreme Court, to create best practices and standards for ensuring racial diversity among clerks, staffers, and interns; and creating a new post within the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers to focus on racial equity including the income and wealth gaps. He also will reissue and mandate strict compliance with the Obama-Biden executive order to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal government. He will rebuild the pipeline of workers into the federal government and incentivize more qualified workers to choose public service by forgiving $10,000 a year in student debt for up to five years of public service. He’ll tap into the best and brightest talent from every source by developing career pipelines from Hispanic-serving Institutions and other Minority-serving Institutions into federal agencies. Biden will also provide more training and mentoring opportunities to improve retention, and collect better data about who is applying for federal service positions as well as being promoted.
INVESTING IN LATINOS’ ECONOMIC MOBILITY
Latinos fill essential roles throughout our economy. But many Latinos are stuck in low-wage jobs and have lower rates of homeownership and less wealth in comparison to non-Hispanic whites. Biden is running for president to rebuild the middle class so that this time, everyone comes along, including Latinos.
Supporting Public-Private Investment Through a New Small Business Opportunity Plan
Small business ownership is one of our country’s cornerstones for wealth building and job creation. However, persistent racial disparities in wealth and access to capital, combined with outright discrimination in the financial sector, have contributed to inequities in small business ownership, growth, and success. For example, Latinos are roughly 18% of the U.S. population but own less than 6% of small businesses with employees. Latino-owned firms also report lack of collateral as a top reason for credit denial.
To address the racial wealth gap, the opportunity gap, and the jobs gap for Latinos, Biden will launch a historic effort to empower small business creation and expansion in economically disadvantaged areas – particularly for Latino-owned businesses and businesses owned by other people of color. In addition to providing small businesses with an ambitious “restart package” to survive the current crisis and come out the other side strong, he is proposing a special, ongoing initiative to empower these entrepreneurs to succeed and grow with a three-prong Small Business Opportunity Plan. His plan is consistent with key elements in the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act recently proposed by Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer, Mark Warner, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. Biden will:
- Spur more than $50 billion in additional public-private venture capital to Latino entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs of color by funding successful state and local investment initiatives and making permanent the highly effective New Markets Tax Credit.
- Expand access to $100 billion in low-interest business loans by funding state, local, tribal, and non-profit lending programs in Latino communities and other communities of color and strengthening Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), and the Community Reinvestment Act.
- Eliminate barriers to technical assistance and advisory services by investing in a national network of cost-free business incubators and innovation hubs and intensive business seminars. Biden will co-locate new innovation hubs on the grounds of Hispanic-serving Institutions and other schools and institutions across the country.
Reforming Opportunity Zones to Ensure They Serve Latino Communities, Small Businesses, and Homeowners
Like many Americans, Biden initially hoped that Opportunity Zones would be structured and administered by the Trump Administration in a way that advanced racial equity, small business creation, and homeownership in low-income urban, rural, and tribal communities. It is now clear that the Trump Administration has failed to deliver on that promise in too many places around America. As the Urban Institute has found, the program as a whole is “not living up to its economic and community development goals.” While there have been positive examples, in too many instances investors favor high-return projects like luxury apartments over affordable housing and local entrepreneurs.
We cannot close the racial wealth gap if we allow billionaires to exploit Opportunity Zones tax breaks to pad their wealth, rather than investing in projects that benefit distressed low-income communities and Americans that are struggling to make ends meet. As President, Biden will task his team to develop a plan for reforming Opportunity Zones, including steps like incentivizing Opportunity Funds to partner with nonprofit or community-oriented organizations and jointly produce a community-benefit plan for each investment. The focus should be on creating jobs for low-income residents and otherwise providing a direct financial impact to households within the Opportunity Zones.
Make A Historic Commitment To Equalizing Federal Procurement
Biden’s Build Back Better plan includes a historic procurement effort designed to support small businesses and tackle long standing inequities in the federal contracting system. During his first term, Biden will tighten Buy American requirements for existing procurement and invest $400 billion in additional federal purchases of products made by American workers. And, he will make transparent, targeted investments that unleash new demand for domestic goods and services and create American jobs in communities across the country.
As part of this effort, his multi-pronged small business contracting strategy will include formula-based awards; widespread outreach and counseling to small business owners, especially Latino business owners and other business owners of color; and transparent, frequent monitoring of contract awards. This will make certain that the largest mobilization of public investments in procurement, infrastructure, and R&D since WWII is equitably distributed across communities and businesses. Biden will also take concrete steps to streamline the federal procurement process as a whole and ensure it finally mirrors the demographics of this country. Specifically, Biden will require prime contractors to develop and fully execute plans to increase subcontracting opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). He will also triple the federal goal for contracting with SDBs from 5% to a minimum of 15% of all procurement dollars by 2025. To achieve this goal, which will send tens of billions of additional dollars to Latino communities and other communities of color, Biden will expand long-term technical assistance and federal contracting preferences for SDBs. And, he will incentivize state and local governments and private sector partners to contract with small disadvantaged businesses.
Throughout, Biden will ensure federal dollars support Latino workers and their families. As called for in his plan to strengthen worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions, Biden will require that all companies receiving procurement contracts are using taxpayer dollars to support good American jobs, including a commitment to pay at least $15 per hour, provide paid leave, maintain fair overtime and scheduling practices, and guarantee a choice to join a union and bargain collectively.
Ensure Latino Workers are Compensated Fairly and Treated With Dignity
This pandemic has shown the world who essential workers really are – and many of them are Latino workers who feed the country, keep our communities clean, and care for our loved ones. But for too long they have not been treated with dignity or provided with the opportunity they deserve.
Latino workers still earn a fraction of what white workers earn and are less likely to have essential benefits like health coverage and paid leave. And Latinas earn only 54 cents for every dollar a white man earns, adding up, on average, to over $1.1 million over a lifetime career. This is especially detrimental for the more than four in ten Latina mothers who are the sole or primary breadwinners for their family. Biden’s plan to build back better requires rooting out discrimination in the workplace so people can earn what they deserve, support their families, and build wealth.
Biden will continue to prioritize closing wage gaps and ending paycheck discrimination. He will increase the federal minimum wage to $15 across the country and eliminate the minimum tipped wage, disproportionately benefitting Latino workers. He will also support small businesses like restaurants during this economic crisis, helping them get back on their feet so they can keep their doors open and pay their workers. The Obama-Biden Administration fought to extend overtime pay to over 4 million workers and protect nearly 9 million from losing it, but the Trump Administration reversed this progress, implementing a new rule that leaves millions of workers behind – including nearly 1.3 million Latino workers. Biden will ensure workers are paid fairly for the long hours they work and get the overtime pay they deserve. And he will ensure that domestic workers and farm workers receive overtime protections.
Biden will address discrimination and harassment in the workplace, guarantee up to 12 weeks paid family and medical leave for all workers and up to seven days of paid sick, family, and safe leave. Approximately one in three Latino workers have experienced employment discrimination and nearly one in two Latino workers do not have access to any paid leave.
And Biden will make it easier for all workers to organize unions and bargain collectively. Unions are an essential path to the middle class, especially for Latinos. They allow workers to bargain for higher wages and benefits, and with more job protections, many union workers have greater job stability. In fact, Latinos who join a union receive an even larger pay increase than white workers who join a union, helping to close the wage gap, and one study found Latino union members have 11 times the wealth of Latino non-union members. Biden will include in the economic recovery legislation he sends to Congress a series of policies to build worker power to raise wages and secure stronger benefits. This legislation will make it easier for workers to organize a union and bargain collectively with their employers by including the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, card check, union and bargaining rights for public service workers, and a broad definition of “employee” and tough enforcement to end the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. It will also go further than the PRO Act by holding company executives personally liable when they interfere with organizing efforts. And, Biden will restore the ability of federal workers to unionize and collectively bargain.
Biden will also:
- Aggressively pursue employers who violate employment, anti-discrimination, health and safety laws.
- Expand protections for undocumented immigrants who report labor violations. When undocumented immigrants are victims of serious crimes and help in the investigation of those crimes, they become eligible for U Visas. The Obama-Biden Administration expanded the U Visa program to certain workplace crimes. As President, Biden will further extend these protections to victims of any workplace violations of federal, state, or local labor law by securing passage of the POWER Act. And, a Biden Administration will ensure that workers on temporary visas are protected so that they are able to exercise the labor rights to which they are entitled.
- Increase workplace safety and health. Conditions at meatpacking plants and among farm workers have highlighted some of the dangerous workplaces where Latino workers disproportionately work, but even before the pandemic, Latino workers were more likely to get injured or die on the job than white workers. No one should get sick, injured, or die simply because they went to work. Biden will take immediate steps to ensure workers have access to personal protective equipment, testing, and paid sick leave and to require employers keep workers safe from COVID-19. Beyond COVID-19, he will also work to address the most dangerous hazards workers encounter in the modern workplace.
- Expand long overdue rights to farmworkers and domestic workers – who are disproportionately Latinos and other people of color – including by enacting the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and Fairness for Farm Workers Act.
Read Biden’s full plan to encourage unionization and collective bargaining at joebiden.com/empowerworkers.
Invest In A 21st Century Care Infrastructure
Even before the pandemic, more than three in five Latino families lived in child care deserts, with limited to no access to licensed child care. When Latino families do find child care, they are paying over $200 a week – often more than they can afford. At the same time, caregivers and early childhood educators – disproportionately Latino women and other women of color – have been underpaid, unseen, and undervalued for far too long.
Biden believes that if we truly want to reward work in this country, we have to ease the financial burden of care that families are carrying, and we have to elevate the compensation, benefits, training and education opportunities for certification, and dignity of caregiving workers and educators.
He will make substantial investments in the infrastructure of care in our country to make child care more affordable and accessible for working families, and to make it easier for aging relatives and loved ones with disabilities to have quality, affordable home- or community-based care. And, he is proposing to give caregiving workers and early childhood educators a raise and stronger benefits, treating them as the professionals they are. This plan, combined with Biden’s proposal to provide families with up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, will put 3 million Americans to work in new care and education jobs, and increase overall employment by about 5 million after taking into account the economic impacts of increased labor force participation after unpaid caregivers – disproportionately women – are able to pursue paid careers if they so choose.
- Expand access to a broad array of long-term services and supports in local settings, including through closing the gaps in Medicaid for home- and community-based services and establishing a state innovation fund for creative, cost effective direct care services.
- Ensure access to high-quality, affordable child care and offer universal preschool to three-and four-year olds through greater investment, expanded tax credits, and sliding-scale subsidies. For children under the age of 5, no family earning below 1.5 times the median income in their state will have to pay more than 7% of their income for quality care, which was the affordable child care benchmark set by the Obama-Biden Administration. A typical family will pay no more than $45 per week. For the most hard-pressed working families, such early childcare costs would be fully covered, saving these families about $200 per week. Or, low-income and middle-class families could choose to use a tax credit of up to $8,000 tax credit to help pay for child care for children under age 13.
- Build safe, energy-efficient, developmentally appropriate child care facilities, including in workplaces, so that parents and guardians never again have to search in vain for a suitable child care option. And, Biden will provide incentives for providers to fill critical child care shortages, including in the early mornings, evenings, and weekends, and in many rural communities that have few providers today
- Treat caregivers and early childhood educators with respect and dignity, and give them the pay and benefits they deserve, training and career ladders to higher-paying jobs, the choice to join a union and bargain collectively, and other fundamental work-related rights and protections.
Read Biden’s full plan for a 21st-century caregiving workforce at joebiden.com/caregiving.
Make Bold Investments in Homeownership and Access to Affordable Housing for Latino Families
Biden believes the middle class isn’t a number, but a value set that includes the ability to own your own home and live in a safe community. Housing should be a right, not a privilege.
Today, however, far too many Americans lack access to affordable and quality housing. Racial inequality permeates U.S. housing markets, with the homeownership rate for Latino households far below those of their white counterparts. In fact, just 51% of Latinos own their own home, compared to 76% of non-Hispanic white Americans. Because home ownership is how many families save and build wealth, these racial disparities contribute to the racial wealth gap. At the same time, many families around the country face immediate risk of eviction in the midst of the Trump-created economic crisis.
To help families build wealth, secure a safe place to live in a vibrant and prosperous community, and ensure equal access to all aspects of the housing market, Biden will help families buy their first homes and build wealth by creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000. Biden’s First Down Payment Tax Credit will help low- and middle-income families offset the costs of home buying and help millions of families lay down roots for the first time. Biden will also:
- Scale-up support for investing in homeownership in revitalization areas.
- Spur the construction of 1.5 million homes and public housing units to address the affordable housing crisis, increase energy efficiency, and reduce the racial wealth gap.
- Call for more accurate, non-discriminatory, inclusive credit scoring and create a public credit reporting agency.
- Protect homeowners and renters from abusive lenders and landlords through a new Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights.
- Provide Section 8 housing vouchers to every eligible family so that no one has to pay more than 30% of their income for rental housing, and work with Congress to enact a new renter’s tax credit, designed to reduce rent and utilities to 30% of income for low-income individuals and families who may make too much money to qualify for a Section 8 voucher but still struggle to pay their rent.
- Work to enact Majority Whip James E. Clyburn and Senator Michael Bennet’s Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020, which will help tenants facing eviction access legal assistance.
- Eliminate local and state housing regulations that perpetuate discrimination.
- Hold financial institutions accountable for discriminatory practices in the housing market.
- Roll back Trump Administration policies gutting fair lending and fair housing protections for homeowners.
Invest In Infrastructure In Latino Communities
Biden’s Build Back Better plan includes a national effort to create the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable, accessible, infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future. He will make a $2 trillion accelerated investment, with a plan to deploy those resources over his first term, toward that end.
A major focus of this investment will be to upgrade the infrastructure and job opportunities in Latino communities and other communities of color. Specifically, Biden will:
- Set a goal that disadvantaged communities receive 40% of overall benefits of spending in the areas of clean energy and energy efficiency deployment; clean, accessible transit and transportation; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce development; remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; and development of critical clean water infrastructure. In addition, Biden will directly fund historic investments across federal agencies aimed at eliminating legacy pollution – especially in Latino communities and other disadvantaged communities – and addressing common challenges faced by these communities, such as funds for replacing and remediating lead service lines and lead paint in households, child care centers, and schools in order to ensure all communities have access to safe drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments will create good-paying jobs in frontline and fenceline communities.
- Ensure the jobs building roads and bridges and schools and overhauling water systems and electricity grids are filled by diverse, local, well-trained workers – including Latino workers by requiring federally funded projects to meet high labor standards, including paying prevailing wage, prioritizing Project Labor and Community Workforce Agreements, and employing workers trained in registered apprenticeship programs. Biden will make investments in pre-apprenticeship programs and in community-based and proven organizations that help Latino and other diverse individuals access high-quality training and job opportunities. Biden’s proposal will make sure national infrastructure and clean energy investments create millions of middle-class jobs that develop a diverse and local workforce with a choice to join a union, strengthening communities as we rebuild our physical infrastructure.
- Revolutionize municipal transit networks. Biden will aim to provide all Americans in municipalities of more than 100,000 people with quality, accessible public transportation by 2030.
- Expand broadband, or wireless broadband via 5G, to every American, recognizing that millions of households without access to home broadband – including nearly two in five Latinos – are locked out of an economy that is increasingly reliant on virtual collaboration. As the COVID-19 crisis has made clear, Americans everywhere need universal, reliable, affordable, and high-speed internet to do their jobs, participate equally in remote school learning and stay connected. This digital divide needs to be closed everywhere.
Address Longstanding Inequities in Agriculture
Latino farmers and other farmers of color have long faced barriers to growing their agricultural businesses, including unfair prices, unequal access to government support, retaliation for civil rights complaints, and outright injustice. For more than 100 years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) did little to alleviate the burdens of systemic inequality for Latino, Black, and Native farmers and was often the site of injustice. Over two decades ago, class action litigation was filed alleging longstanding discrimination against Latino, Black, Native, and women farmers. The cases dragged on for many years without relief for the complainants and impacted farmers struggled to regain the footing they lost before and during the litigation.
A profound shift occurred for Latino, Black, and Native farmers under the Obama-Biden Administration during which the USDA oversaw the conclusion of what became the largest civil rights settlement in US history, bringing a painful chapter to a close. The settlements in these cases marked the beginning of a renewed commitment to supporting diversity, equity, and an internal reckoning for the USDA. Under Obama-Biden, the USDA sought to address both the structural and cultural causes of systemic inequality that had in prior generations been reproduced by the policies and practices of the agency.
Despite the groundbreaking steps to address inequality that were taken under Obama-Biden, the practices and values of the USDA slid backwards under the authority of the Trump Administration – which ceased many agency-wide efforts to level the playing field.
As President, Biden will build upon the historic progress made during the Obama-Biden Administration, taking additional steps to support the rights of Latino, Black, and Native farmers by establishing an equity commission that will focus on the unique jurisdictional and regulatory barriers that Latino, Black, and Native farmers, ranchers, and fishers must negotiate and make sure that processes are streamlined and simplified to promote new and beginning farming and ranching operations by Latino, Black, and Native farmers. Biden will advance a comprehensive effort to assist in both the purchase of farmland and the ability of Latino, Black, and Native farmers to keep that land. This includes credit and technical support in the form of expedited credit, low-interest loans, and technical assistance. In addition, Biden recognizes the disadvantage that Latino, Black, and Native farmers face when they are forced to compete with other farmers who have decades of privileged access to federal assistance. As President, he will explore the use of land trusts, cooperative farm operations, and farm credit systems geared towards Latino, Black, and, Native farmers as a means to support this population and diversify our agricultural sector.
Farmworkers – who are disproportionately Latino and immigrant workers – have always been essential to working our farms and feeding our country. As President, Biden will ensure farmworkers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, regardless of immigration status. He will work with Congress to provide legal status based on prior agricultural work history, ensure they can earn paid sick time, and require that labor and safety rules, including overtime, humane living conditions, and protection from pesticide and heat exposure, are strictly enforced.
Read Biden’s full plan to advance racial economic equity at joebiden.com/racial-economic-equity.
MAKE FAR REACHING INVESTMENTS TO END HEALTH DISPARITIES BY RACE
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the long-standing, pervasive disparities that exist across our health care system due to unequal access to treatment. While we are still learning about the impact of COVID-19 – a clear pattern has emerged that suggests Latino communities are bearing disproportionate harm from the pandemic. Latinos are at an increased risk both of getting COVID-19 and of experiencing severe illness. Latinos are more than four times more likely to experience hospitalization due to COVID-19 than non-Hispanic white persons. President Trump should work with Congress to immediately enact Senator Kamala Harris’ bill to create a task force to address the racial disparities that have been laid bare by this pandemic. As President, Biden will do everything in his power to eliminate health care disparities.
Ensuring access to health care during this crisis
In the short term, Biden’s COVID-19 response plan calls on the Trump Administration to drop its support of a lawsuit to overturn Obamacare. Millions of Americans have already lost their health insurance because they lost their job, and millions more may find health care increasingly difficult to afford. During this crisis, Biden would expand access to quality, affordable health care for all through:
- Creating a public option;
- Providing full payment of premiums for COBRA plans;
- Increasing Affordable Care Act subsidies;
- Reopening Obamacare enrollment so uninsured individuals can get insured;
- Increasing federal investments in Medicaid;
- Ensuring that every person who needs a test can get one – and that testing for those who need it is free. Individuals should also not have to pay anything out of their own pockets for the visit at which the test is ordered, regardless of their immigration status; and
- Ensuring that every person, whether insured or uninsured, will not have to pay a dollar out-of-pocket for visits related to COVID-19 treatment, preventive services, and any eventual vaccine. No co-payments, no deductibles, and no surprise medical billing.
Ensuring access to affordable, high-quality health care beyond the crisis
Because of Obamacare, over 100 million people no longer have to worry that an insurance company will deny coverage or charge higher premiums just because they have a pre-existing condition – whether cancer or diabetes or heart disease or a mental health challenge. Insurance companies can no longer set annual or lifetime limits on coverage. Millions of Latinos obtained the peace of mind that comes with health insurance. Young people who are in transition from school to a job have the option to stay covered by their parents’ plan until age 26. As a result, the uninsured rate among Latinos plummeted from 32% to 19% in the wake of Obamacare – the most substantial decrease of any racial or ethnic group. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, Trump is trying to strip away all health care protections for the millions of Latinos who depend on the Affordable Care Act. If President Trump is successful in his efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, some estimates show that one in ten Latinos under age 65 will lose their health insurance.
As President, Biden will build on Obamacare to expand Latinos’ access to quality, affordable care. He will:
- Reduce the uninsured rate for Latinos by creating a public option health. Despite the transformational gains made under Obamacare nationally, nonelderly Latinos remain more than twice as likely to be uninsured as white people (19% vs 8% in 2018). This disparity is far greater in many states with Republican governors who have not expanded Medicaid. Biden will give all Americans a new choice, a public health insurance option like Medicare. And he will ensure the individuals who would be eligible for Medicaid but for their state’s inaction are automatically enrolled on to the public option, at no cost to the individual.
- Improve care for patients with chronic conditions, by coordinating among all of a patient’s doctors. This is particularly important for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, which disproportionately impacts Latinos.
- Lower costs for Latino Americans enrolled in Obamacare plans by increasing the value of tax credits to lower premiums and lowering deductibles by making other changes to how the tax credits are calculated.
- Lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and stopping drug companies from price gouging on new drugs.
- Reduce our unacceptably high Latino maternal mortality rate. Latino women have a significantly higher maternal mortality rate than non-Hispanic white women. California came up with a strategy that halved the state’s maternal death rate. Biden will take the California strategy nationwide.
- Double the nation’s investment in community health centers. Community health centers provide primary, prenatal, and other important care, and their patients are disproportionately members of racial and ethnic minority groups, including Latinos.
- Expand access to mental health care. Latinos experience disparities in access to mental health treatment and in the quality of the treatment that they receive. Biden will ensure mental health parity, eliminating the stigma around mental health is critical to closing this gap.
- Tackle social determinants of health. Because racial health disparities are the result of years of systemic inequality not only in our health care system, but across our economy, other parts of Biden’s agenda are also necessary to improve the overall well-being of Latinos. Biden will invest in helping people stay healthy. That means making sure that Latino families have access to fresh foods, child care, jobs that have safe and fair conditions, a living wage, clean air and water, and mental health support – communities where children and families will thrive. To keep people in Latino communities healthy, Biden will take steps such as expanding access to high quality education, creating access to mental health supports, and tackling environmental pollution that disproportionately harms Latino communities and other communities of color.
Investing in Hispanic-serving Institutions to Help Solve Health Disparities
As part of Biden’s more than $70 billion investment in Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), other Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs), and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), he will invest $10 billion to create at least 200 new centers of excellence that serve as research incubators and connect students underrepresented in fields critical to our nation’s future to learning and career opportunities. He will develop robust internship and career pipelines at major research agencies, including National Institutes of Health. He will also dedicate additional and increased priority funding streams at federal agencies for grants and contracts for HSIs, other MSIs, and HBCUs. He will require any federal research grants to universities with an endowment of over $1 billion to form a meaningful partnership and enter into a 10% minimum subcontract with an HSI, other MSI, or HBCU. And, Biden will invest $5 billion in graduate programs in health care, along with teaching and STEM, at these schools.
Read Biden’s full health care plan at joebiden.com/healthcare.
EXPAND ACCESS TO HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION AND TRAINING, AND TACKLE RACIAL INEQUITY IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM
Over a quarter of K-12 public school students are Latino. Biden will make sure that every child in America has the chance to realize their full potential starting at birth, regardless of their zip code, race, or family income. Biden will work with states to ensure every low- and middle-income family has access to high-quality child care and to make high-quality pre-K available to every child. He’ll close the gap between white and non-white school districts by nearly tripling Title I funding, the federal program funding schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families. This new funding will first be used to ensure teachers at Title I schools are paid competitively, three- and four-year olds have access to pre-school, and districts provide access to rigorous coursework – including computer science and other STEM subjects – across all their schools, not just a few. He’ll expand “community schools” that serve the needs of students and parents; and double the number of school psychologists, nurses, school counselors, and social workers, giving kids the support they need to grow. Biden will work to ensure that more public schools have additional resources to support English learners and ensure their parents receive information in the language they understand so they can participate in their child’s education. And, through partnerships between high schools, community colleges, and employers, Biden will make sure that all kids have a chance to graduate with an industry credential, ready to compete in the 21st century workforce.
Biden will also expand access for Latinos to quality, affordable education and training beyond high school. For too many, earning a degree or other credential after high school is unaffordable today. For others, their education saddles them with so much debt it prevents them from buying a home or saving for retirement, or their parents or grandparents take on some of the financial burden. But roughly six in ten jobs require some education beyond high school. Biden will:
- Increase college completion by making college affordable for Latino students. Our post-secondary education system has not done enough to help Latino students access, afford, and succeed in high-quality postsecondary education. 64% of first-time, full-time white students graduate from four-year institutions, compared to only 54% of Latinos. To help Latino students access and complete college, Biden will:
- Make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000, including students at private, under-resourced Hispanic-serving Institutions. This proposal will help roughly 88% of Latino households afford college.
- Provide two years of community college or other high-quality training programs without debt for any hard-working individual looking to learn and improve their skills to keep up with the changing nature of work. This commitment includes two-year public, under-resourced Hispanic-serving Institutions. Individuals will also be able to use these funds to pursue training programs that have a track record of participants completing their programs and securing good jobs, including adults who never had the chance to pursue additional education beyond high school or who need to learn new skills.
- Target additional financial support to low-income and middle-class individuals by doubling the maximum value of Pell Grants, significantly increasing the number of middle-class Americans who can participate in the program. Almost 47% of Latino undergraduates received a Pell Grant during the 2015-2016 academic year.
- Help Latinos tackle student debt. Biden’s plans to address student loan debt will alleviate student debt burdens by:
- Including in the COVID-19 response an immediate cancellation of a minimum of $10,000 of federal student loan debt.
- Forgiving all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges for debt-holders earning up to $125,000. This will also apply to individuals holding federal student loans for tuition from private Hispanic-serving Institutions.
- Forgiving loan payments for individuals making $25,000 or less per year and capping loan payments at 5% of discretionary income for those making more.
- Fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and forgiving $10,000 of undergraduate or graduate student debt for every year of national or community service, up to five years.
- Cracking down on private lenders profiteering off of students by empowering the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to take action against private lenders who are misleading students about their options and do not provide an affordable payment plan when individuals are experiencing acute periods of financial hardship.
- Permitting the discharge of student loans in bankruptcy.
- Invest over $70 billion in Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), other Minority-serving Institutions, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that will train our next generation of Latino professionals and other professionals of color. Hispanic-serving Institutions – post-secondary, higher educational institutions with at least 25% total full-time enrollment of Hispanic undergraduate students – enroll 40% of all Latino students of higher education. Despite the central role that HSIs play in educating Latino students, according to data released in 2019, HSIs received only 68 cents for every dollar going to all other colleges and universities annually, per student, from all federal funding sources. As President, Biden will take steps to rectify the funding disparities faced by HSIs so that the United States can benefit from their unique strengths. In addition to the proposals detailed above to make Hispanic-serving Institutions more affordable for their students, Biden will:
- Invest $10 billion to create at least 200 new centers of excellence at HSIs, other MSIs, and HBCUs that serve as research incubators and connect students underrepresented in fields critical to our nation’s future – including fields tackling climate change, globalization, inequality, health disparities, and cancer – to learning and career opportunities.
- Build the high-tech labs and facilities and digital infrastructure needed for learning, research, and innovation at HSIs, other MSIs, and HBCUs.
- Invest $5 billion in graduate programs in HSI/MSI/HBCU teaching, health care, and STEM and develop robust internship and career pipelines at major research agencies.
- Create a “Title I for postsecondary education” to help students at under-resourced four-year schools complete their degrees. The Biden Administration will establish a new grant program to support under-resourced four-year schools that serve large numbers of Pell-eligible students. The funds will be used to foster collaboration between colleges and community-based organizations to provide wraparound support services for students, including additional financial aid to cover textbook and transportation costs that often keep students from staying enrolled, to child care and mental health services, faculty mentoring, tutoring, and peer support groups.
- Make a $50 billion investment in workforce training, including community-college business partnerships and apprenticeships. These funds will create and support partnerships between community colleges, businesses, unions, state, local, and tribal governments, universities, and high schools to identify in-demand knowledge and skills in a community and develop or modernize training programs – which could be as short as a few months or as long as two years – that lead to a relevant, high-demand industry-recognized credential.
- Provide Dreamers with new higher education opportunities. Biden will ensure that Dreamers are eligible for the free tuition proposals described above and other financial aid if they meet other requirements for that aid.
COMBAT HATE CRIMES AND GUN VIOLENCE
Last year, a single gunman killed 23 individuals in El Paso. He picked this city because of its diversity, rich Hispanic heritage, and close friendship with the people of Ciudad Juarez. This horrific tragedy, part of a disturbing increase in anti-Latino hate crimes, calls on all of us to recommit to the battle for the soul of the nation. According to the FBI, reported anti-Latino hate incidents increased by more than 40 percent between 2016 and 2018. We must fight against white supremacy, which President Trump has emboldened. And we must fight against gun violence in all of its forms – mass shootings and the daily acts of gun violence that don’t make headlines but are just as tragic for the families and communities affected.
Biden will pursue evidence-based measures to root out persistent violent crime and hate crimes. Violent offenders need to be held accountable, and survivors need to have access to support to deal with the physical, psychological, and financial consequences of violence. Biden will tackle the rise in hate crimes through moral leadership that makes clear such vitriol has no place in the United States. And, in the Biden Administration, the Justice Department will prioritize prosecuting hate crimes.
Additionally, Biden will address the daily acts of gun violence in our communities that may not make national headlines, but are just as devastating to survivors and victims’ families as gun violence that does make the front page. These daily acts of gun violence disproportionately impact Latinos and Black people. Biden will create a $900 million, eight-year initiative to fund evidence-based interventions in 40 cities across the country – the 20 cities with the highest number of homicides, and 20 cities with the highest number of homicides per capita. This proposal is estimated to save more than 12,000 lives over the eight-year program.
Read Biden’s full plan to reduce gun violence at joebiden.com/gunsafety.
SECURE OUR VALUES AS A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS
Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants. It’s wrong, and it stops when Biden is elected President. The current Administration’s racist and wrong-headed immigration policies have created a humanitarian crisis on our border, undermined a key source of our economic strength, and weakened our moral standing in the world.
Biden knows that it’s past time to overhaul our broken immigration system. As Vice President, he backed reforms that would have established a path to citizenship and when Congress failed to pass them, the Obama-Biden Administration created and then expanded the DACA program to give Dreamers a chance to pursue their lives without fear of deportation.
On his first day in office, Biden will send to Congress a bill for legislative immigration reform that will modernize our immigration system and give nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants a roadmap to citizenship. Biden knows that we can secure our borders and uphold our laws in a way that is humane, just, and that establishes a rational set of rules for aspiring immigrants. He will invest in smart technology that addresses the real threats to U.S. security, ones that primarily come to our country through our legal ports of entry, and he’ll restore our asylum system so that it once more offers protection and safe harbor to people fleeing dangers. He’ll ensure those seeking refuge in the United States are treated with dignity and get the fair hearing they’re legally entitled to receive, and surge the resources to hire more immigration judges and asylum officers to address the current crisis. Moreover, a Biden Administration will immediately review every Temporary Protected Status (TPS) decision made by the Trump Administration to ensure that no one is returned to a country that is not safe, extend TPS to Venezuelans seeking relief from the humanitarian crisis brought on by the Maduro regime, and offer TPS recipients who have been in the country for an extended period of time a path to citizenship through legislative immigration reform.
Reverse the Harmful Immigration Policies of the Trump Administration
As President, Biden will take urgent action to end the Trump Administration’s violations of human dignity and restore our nation’s moral leadership by:
- Stopping the separation of children from their parents and reunite families. Biden will immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border, including ending the prosecution of parents for minor immigration violations as an intimidation tactic, and prioritizing the reunification of any children still separated from their families.
- Ending prolonged detention and reinvesting in case management. Proven alternatives to detention and non-profit case management programs, which support migrants as they navigate their legal obligations, are the best way to ensure that they attend all required immigration appointments. These programs also enable migrants to live in dignity and safety while awaiting their court hearings – facilitating things like doctor visits, social services, and school enrollment for children. Evidence shows that these programs are highly effective and are far less expensive and punitive than detaining families. Biden will codify protections to safeguard children to make sure their treatment is consistent with their best interest and invest in community-based case management programs to move migrants into safe environments as quickly as possible and end prolonged immigration detention for migrants who pose no threat to our safety.
- Ending Trump’s detrimental asylum policies and enhancing protections for asylum seekers. The Trump Administration has worked to drastically restrict access to asylum in the U.S., including by imposing additional restrictions on anyone traveling through Mexico or Guatemala; attempting to prevent victims of gang and domestic violence from receiving asylum; systematically prosecuting adult asylum seekers for misdemeanor illegal entry; and severely limiting the ability of members of the LGBTQ+ community, an especially vulnerable group in many parts of the world, from qualifying for asylum as members of a “particular social group.” Biden will end these policies, starting with Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols and Safe Third Country Agreements. And, he will work to enhance protections for victims of violence and abuse – including violence based on gender or sexual orientation, intimate partner and domestic violence, or violence at the hands of drug cartels – making it harder for future administrations to reverse asylum protections, as Trump has done.
- Reversing Trump’s public charge rule. Allowing immigration officials to make an individual’s ability to receive a visa or gain permanent residency contingent on their use of government services such as SNAP benefits or Medicaid, their household income, and other discriminatory criteria undermines America’s character as land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all, not just the wealthy. Trump’s public charge rule runs counter to our values as Americans and the history of our nation, and Biden will reverse it.
- Ending the so-called National Emergency that siphons federal dollars to build a wall. Building a wall will do little to deter criminals and cartels seeking to exploit our borders. Biden will direct federal resources to smart border enforcement efforts, like investments in improving screening infrastructure at our ports of entry, that will actually keep America safe.
- Protecting Dreamers and their families. Biden will remove the uncertainty for Dreamers by reinstating the DACA program, and he will explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation. Biden will also ensure Dreamers are eligible for federal student aid (loans, Pell grants) and are included in his proposals to provide access to community college without debt and invest in HSI/HBCU/MSIs, which will help Dreamers contribute even more to our economy.
- End the Trump Administration’s historic use of 287(g) agreements. Section 10 of President Trump’s January 25, 2017 executive order sought to deputize state and local law enforcement to perform the function of an immigration officer. These types of actions undermine trust and cooperation between local law enforcement and the communities they are charged to protect. As President, Biden will end all the agreements entered into by the Trump Administration, and aggressively limit the use of 287(g) and similar programs that force local law enforcement to take on the role of immigration enforcement.
- Restoring sensible enforcement priorities and protecting sensitive locations from enforcement actions. Targeting people who have never been convicted of a serious criminal offense and who have lived, worked, and contributed to our communities for decades is the definition of counterproductive. Biden will direct enforcement efforts toward serious threats to public safety and national security, while ensuring that individuals are treated with the due process to which they are entitled and their human rights are protected. No one should ever be afraid to seek medical attention, pick their child up from school, or to be a part of a community of faith for fear of an immigration enforcement action. Biden will protect sensitive locations from immigration enforcement actions.
- Enforcing immigration laws without violating workers’ rights. Immigrant rights and worker rights are deeply connected. We must ensure that every worker is protected, can join a union, and can exercise their labor rights–regardless of immigration status–for the safety of all workers. Biden will end workplace raids to ensure that threats based on workers’ status do not interfere with their ability to organize and improve their wages and working conditions.
- Protecting military families from deportation. Biden will protect and expand opportunities for people who risked their lives in military service. Biden will not target the men and women who served in uniform, or their families, for deportation. He will also direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to create a parole process for veterans deported by the Trump Administration to reunite them with their families and military colleagues in the U.S.
- Ensuring access to counsel in immigration court. Many immigrants, including children as young as three, appear in immigration court without legal representation, often because they cannot afford an attorney. There have also been reports of the Trump Administration limiting access to legal counsel for immigrants being held in detention. This undermines our core value of due process and the integrity of our immigration system. As President, Biden will work to ensure that immigrants are not denied access to counsel and work with civil society organizations to establish funding to provide legal representation.
- Revitalizing the Task Force on New Americans and boosting our economy by prioritizing integration, promoting immigrant entrepreneurship, increasing access to language instruction, and promoting civil engagement. Integrating the talents of new immigrants into our communities and helping them to thrive enriches our nation and our economy. Under President Biden, the Task Force on New Americans will once more coordinate federal agencies and resources to provide community support across a range of issues, including language learning, entrepreneurship and financial management, workforce training, and guidance on the naturalization process.
Permanent Immigration Reform Through Legislative Action
As President, Biden will commit significant political capital to finally deliver legislative immigration reform to ensure that the U.S. remains open and welcoming to people from every part of the world – and to bring hardworking people who have enriched our communities and our country, in some cases for decades, out of the shadows.
Specifically, Joe Biden will work with Congress to pass legislation that:
- Creates a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million people who have been living in and strengthening our country for years. Biden will aggressively advocate for legislation that creates a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check.
- Reforms the visa program for temporary workers in select industries. Biden will work with Congress to reform the current system of temporary work visas to allow workers in these select industries to switch jobs, while certifying the labor market’s need for foreign workers. Employers should be able to supply data showing a lack of labor availability and the harm that would result if temporary workers were unavailable. This flexibility, coupled with strong safeguards that require employers to pay a fair calculation of the prevailing wage and ensure the right of all workers to join a union and exercise their labor rights, will help meet the needs of domestic employers, sustain higher wages for American workers and foreign workers alike, incentivize workers and employers to operate within legal channels, prevent exploitation of temporary workers, and boost local economies.
- Provides a path to legalization for agricultural workers who have worked for years on U.S. farms and continue to work in agriculture. Biden supports compromise legislation between farmworkers and the agricultural sector that will provide legal status based on prior agricultural work history, and a faster track to a green card and ultimately citizenship. Biden also will ensure they can earn paid sick leave and require that labor and safety rules, including overtime, humane living conditions, and protection from pesticide and heat exposure, are enforced with respect to these particularly vulnerable working people.
- Rejects the false choice between employment-based and family-based immigration. As President, Biden will support family-based immigration by preserving family unification as a foundation of our immigration system; by allowing any approved applicant to receive a temporary non-immigrant visa until the permanent visa is processed; and by supporting legislation that treats the spouses and children of green card holders as the immediate relatives they are, exempting them from caps, and allowing parents to bring their minor children with them at the time they immigrate.
- Enforces the rules to protect American and foreign workers alike. The U.S. immigration system must guard against economy-wide wage cuts due to exploitation of foreign workers by unscrupulous employers who undercut the system by hiring immigrant workers below the market rate or go outside the immigration system to find workers. Biden will work with Congress to ensure that employers are not taking advantage of immigrant workers and that U.S. citizen workers are not being undercut by employers who don’t play by the rules. Biden will also work to ensure employers have the right tools to certify their workers’ employment status and will restore the focus on abusive employers instead of on the vulnerable workers they are exploiting.
Read Biden’s full immigration plan at joebiden.com/immigration.