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El Pueblo Unido

A New Era for Latinos

There are countless ways to measure the rebirth of my hometown of South Bend, but one of the most delicious signs is the growth of La Rosita ice cream shop on Western Avenue. After immigrating from Mexico to Chicago, Rosalina and Juan Cervera found their way to South Bend intending to start a restaurant. They wound up opening a paleteria that has become a vibrant community gathering place on the west side, emblematic of the vital role that South Bend’s Latino community has played in the life of our city. And that, in turn, is a microcosm of the essential role the Latino community holds in American society.

In so many ways, members of the Latino community uphold and embody the values that make us American.

As the largest ethnic group in America, Latinos are a key part of the economic engine for our country. They are 50 percent more likely to start a business than their white counterparts. Latino-owned companies grow faster than companies owned by other groups.Duffin, Erin. “New entrepreneur rate in the U.S. from 2000 to 2017, by race.” Statista. 2018. Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. “2018 Research Report: State of Latino Entrepreneurship.” 2019.

Latino communities uphold and embody the values that make us American. Sylvia Mendez and her family helped lay the groundwork for equal education across the country when she integrated her school in Southern California. Labor leaders from the Latino community helped organize one of the most successful grassroots boycotts of the 20th Century: the Delano Grape Pickers Strike of the late-1960s.Nevarez, Griselda. “50 Years Later, Remembering the Delano Grape Strike.” NBC News.September 26, 2015. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has admirably upheld our constitutional values on the Supreme Court. Trailblazing educators like Eduardo Padrón, President Emeritus of Miami Dade College—one of the largest universities in the country, where Latinos make up over 70 percent of the student body—fiercely advocate for inclusion.Miami Dade College. “Highlights and Facts.” And business owners like the Cerveras are strengthening our local communities and economies across America. With a profound commitment to family, community, entrepreneurship, and service, Latinos profoundly shape the trajectory of the United States.

Despite these contributions, Latinos have been subjected to relentless and bigoted attacks by this President and his administration. A man who launched his campaign slurring Mexican immigrants and questioning the impartiality of a Mexican-American judge has since unleashed a crude crusade of cruelty and harassment, and inspired others to do the same. Emboldened by this officially-sanctioned prejudice, hate crimes against Latinos soared by more than 20 percent last year.Brooks, Brad. “Victims of anti-Latino hate crimes soar in U.S.: FBI report.” Reuters. November 12, 2019. And most devastatingly, in August, the Latino community was targeted and attacked when a gunman murdered 22 people in an El Paso Walmart. This act of terrorism continues to haunt Latinos throughout the country.Chavez, Nicole, and Catherine E. Shoichet. “A community targeted: This time it wasn't a viral video or a racist tweet. It was something far more terrifying.” CNN. August 7, 2019.

Latinos in the United States have been burdened for too long by a legacy of systemic discrimination. It is for this reason that our campaign has woven policies to support and empower the Latino community throughout our policy plans.

All of this is taking place against a backdrop of economic and social disempowerment. Whether it is the disenfranchisement of the people of Puerto Rico or Latino neighborhoods denied access to clean air and water, Latinos in the United States have been burdened for too long by a legacy of systemic discrimination.

It is for this reason that our campaign has woven policies to support and empower the Latino community throughout our policy plans. Now, we are committing to do even more. As President, I will put an end to this administration’s discriminatory policies and work to dismantle the institutional barriers that have kept Latinos from feeling like they fully belong in their country. To that end, my administration will invest in Latinos’ economic empowerment; improve systems including health care, housing, and education for Latinos; and make our democracy stronger and more inclusive.

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To meet this moment, it is up to us to unify as a people to ensure that the next era is one where all Latinos feel they are empowered and know that they belong.

Economic Empowerment

Over the last four decades, as GDP and productivity have gone up, working class wages have stagnated.This statistic refers to the all-in pay and benefits (including employer-provided health care) of the bottom half of U.S. earners. See: Piketty, Thomas, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman.“Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 133(2), 2018, 553-609. This reality has especially affected Latinos. One in five Latinos live below the poverty threshold, compared to one in ten of their white counterparts. Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity.” Kaiser Family Foundation. Last year, Latino median household income was 30 percent less than for white households.Wilson, Valerie and Jhavoca Williams. “Racial and ethnic incomes persist amid uneven growth in incomes.” Economic Policy Institute. September 11, 2019; Duffin, Erin. “New entrepreneur rate in the U.S. from 2000 to 2017, by race.” Statista. 2018. Latino workers are also more likely to be silenced in the workplace and subject to abuse, as they disproportionately work in industries with few worker protections, including farming and domestic work.

Yet despite starting from behind, Latino-owned companies grow faster than companies owned by other communities.Duffin, Erin. “New entrepreneur rate in the U.S. from 2000 to 2017, by race.” Statista. 2018; Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. “2018 Research Report: State of Latino Entrepreneurship.” 2019. If the opportunity gap between Latino- and non-Latino-owned businesses were closed, GDP would grow by almost $1.5 trillion.Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. “2018 Research Report: State of Latino Entrepreneurship.” 2019. As President, Pete will work to close these gaps and support Latino entrepreneurs, workers, and families, as laid out in his A New Rising Tide plan.

Latino Policy_10 Billion

Invest in Latino-owned business and Latino entrepreneurs.

Latinos are almost 50 percent more likely to start a business than other Americans, yet access to capital remains limited.Duffin, Erin. “New entrepreneur rate in the U.S. from 2000 to 2017, by race.” Statista. 2018. Dolan, Kerry A. “What’s Fueling Latino Entrepreneurship-- and What’s Holding it Back.” Insights by Stanford Graduate School of Business. February 7, 2018.

  • Invest in Latino entrepreneurs. Pete will invest up to $10 billion in federal capital to establish a fund for underrepresented entrepreneurs, including Latinos.
  • Support over 40,000 new small businesses by providing $1 billion in loan guarantees to microlenders.
  • Award 25 percent of federal contracting dollars—totaling $100 billion—to small business owners from underrepresented groups, including the Latino community.
  • Reduce discrimination in business lending.
  • Create a national network of apprenticeships and increase access to Internships for All. Pete will invest up to $5 billion over the next decade to ensure an apprenticeship program in a growing industry is available within 30 miles of every American.
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Empower Latino workers by passing a $15 per hour minimum wage and expanding worker protections.

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Environmental Justice

Climate change, pollution, and environmental degradation often strike Latino communities first, compounding existing inequities in income, health, and disaster preparedness.Energy and Environment.” National Hispanic Leadership. Half of Latinos live in the most polluted cities in the country,Ibid. and even more live in one of three states heavily affected by extreme weather events: sea-level rise and hurricanes in Florida, heat waves in Texas, and droughts in California.Environmental Defense Fund. “Latino Communities and Climate Change.” March 2017. As President, Pete will advance climate change mitigation and environmental policies that center the lives of communities of color that have so often been pushed to the sidelines.

  • Support an environmental equity approach to policy-making that considers the impact of all policies on the health of communities.
  • Invest in access to clean water. Pete will increase the USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program by $10 billion over 10 years to provide more funding to underserved communities. He will also triple funding for the EPA to clean up toxic waste sites and contaminated water, as well as ensure safe drinking water for all.
  • Combat air pollution and strengthen air quality standards. He will also reinstate the Obama-era Chemical Disaster Rule to protect communities from life-threatening industrial disasters.
  • Streamline access to disaster relief for Latino communities. Pete is proud to be the first candidate to release a standalone disaster preparedness policy, Resilient Communities. As part of this comprehensive plan, Pete will create a Disaster Preparedness Commission within his first 100 days. This Commission will pay particular attention to island and coastal regions, including Florida and Puerto Rico.
  • Protect public lands for future generations.

Voting & Democracy

In 2016, one in six Latinos couldn’t get off work to vote, compared to one in 12 non-Latino white Americans.Newkirk, Van R. “Voter Suppression is Warping Our Democracy.” The Atlantic. July 17, 2018. Over one in 10 Latinos were incorrectly told their name was not listed in the voter rolls, compared to one in 20 non-Latino white voters.Ibid. This reality speaks to systemic voter suppression that has politically disempowered Latinos. Georgia’s “exact match” rule, for example, disproportionately excludes naturalized citizens who may have changed their names when they naturalized, or people from countries with different naming conventions.Gomez, Isabel. “How Latinos Are Fighting Against Voter Suppression Tactics in Georgia.” Remezcla. 2018.

As President, Pete will propose a 21st Century Voting Rights Act to end all types of voter suppression and expand voting access no matter the color of one’s skin or zip code. He will:

  • Remedy the harms caused by a politicized Census count.
  • Provide political representation for Puerto Rico.
  • Expand access to the ballot and combat voter suppression.
  • Fight discriminatory racial and partisan gerrymandering.
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Immigration is a vital component of the American story and is particularly important to Latinos, who make up 44 percent of our nation’s current immigrant population.Zong, Jie, Jeanne Batalova, and Micayla Burrows. “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute. March 14, 2019. Further, millions of Latinos live in mixed-status households, where one or more family members is not a U.S. citizen.Mathema, Silva. “Keeping Families Together.” Center for American Progress. March 16, 2017. A majority of Latinos–including citizens and those with other lawful status–worry about deportation. Lopez, Mark. H., Ana Gonzalez Barrera, and Jens Manuel Krongstad. “Views on immigration policy.” Pew Research Center. October 25, 2018. This fear is even taking a toll on the health of Latino youth.Cuevas, Eduardo and Kate Cimini. “Salinas Valley study finds immigration policy fueling youth anxiety.” The Californian. June 27, 2019.

Our immigration system has been in dire need of reform long before the current administration began implementing its cruel and racist policies against immigrants. While the U.S. economy and our communities continue to depend on immigration and the benefits that it brings, our country suffers from the longstanding policies excluding so many from full participation. Pete will soon release a full immigration agenda that focuses on the range of needs of immigrant communities across America. To support Latino immigrants, Pete will:

  • Create a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States who call this country home. Pete will support legislation that provides a mechanism to legal status and ultimately citizenship. This path would also be available for people with temporary protections—such as DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS)—who have lived here for decades. While working on a necessary legislative fix, Pete will restore and extend temporary DACA and TPS protections rescinded by the current administration.
  • Honor the commitments of immigrants who serve in the Armed Forces. Pete will protect immigrant service members from deportation, as well as provide expedited and no-cost naturalization services to eligible Armed Forces members.
  • Accelerate reunification of families. Pete will reduce the backlog of family-based visas and increase the number of visas issued for family reunification each year.
  • Take some forms of immigration relief out of the courts. Pete will allow USCIS to adjudicate certain types of cases overwhelming the system and encourage ICE to agree to relief from removal in certain cases outside of the courtroom.
  • Update the list of removable offenses.


Family-friendly policies help children grow in healthy environments, support parents in finding the work-life balance that works best for their family, and ensure seniors can age in place and with dignity.Are the world’s richest countries’ family-friendly?” UNICEF. 2019. Despite that, the United States has among the least family-friendly policies across the industrialized world.Ferrante, Mary Beth. “UNICEF Study Confirms: The U.S. Ranks Last for Family-Friendly Policies.” Forbes. June 21, 2019. This reality disproportionately affects Latino families, whose median family net worth is one-sixth of white families.Median Value of Family Net Worth.” Tax Policy Center. March 11, 2019. Pete is committed to ushering in a new era for Latino families.

  • Invest $700 billion in affordable, universal high-quality child care and pre-K, making it available from birth to age five.
  • Expand access to dual language curriculum in early education.
  • Address segregation and bias in early childhood education. Pete will combat racial and socioeconomic segregation by investing in equity innovation, transportation, and universal access to high quality education. He will work to end preschool suspension and expulsion, which disproportionately affects children of color.
  • Support Latino family caregivers and guarantee that all working Latinos have access to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
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  • Ensure working Latinos can retire with dignity. Pete’s administration will fully protect Social Security for the next generation without cutting benefits by ensuring the most fortunate pay their fair share. He will also establish a Public Option 401(k) that includes a Rainy Day Account to help families weather financial emergencies.
  • Transform our long-term services and supports system to help Latino seniors age securely.


America’s education system takes already vast disparities and too often makes them worse. Pete’s administration will invest in students early and prioritize equity—lifting up Latino students, and all students, so that they can reach their full potential.

Invest in public educators and public schools.

Students of color, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families are consistently denied access to the support they need to thrive. At the same time, too many state and local funding policies increase disparities by providing fewer resources for our lowest-income schools.Chingos, Mattthew. “How Progressive is School Funding in the United States.” Brookings Institute. June 15, 2017. Pete will:

  • Ensure universal access to quality pre-K for every American child.
  • Triple funding for Title I schools.
  • Invest in English language learners and bilingualism.
  • Increase diversity in teaching by doubling the number of educators of color in 10 years. Pete will eliminate the wage gap for Title I teachers, establish the Education Access Corps to train and retain future educators, and require new transparency about racial diversity in the teacher workforce.
  • Level the playing field outside of school. Pete’s administration will ensure all children have access to after-school K-12 and summer learning opportunities, including in art, sports, and STEM education.

Improve college affordability and completion and invest in the American workforce.

More and more Americans see college as a privilege for the wealthy, out of reach for working- and middle-class students. Today, Latinos are about 10 percent less likely to graduate from college within six years.Excelencia in Education. “Latino College Completion: United States.” No date; Field, Kelly. “More Hispanics are going to college and graduating, but disparity persists.” PBS News Hour. May 14, 2018. And most Latino college students work over 30 hours per week to cover the cost of their studies, including 32 percent who work over 40 hours per week.Martinez, Janette. “College Affordability Supports Latino Student Success.” Forbes. October 7, 2019. As shared in his Opportunity Agenda, Pete will make critical investments that focus on equity to increase college access and completion.

  • Make college more affordable. Pete will make college free for lower-income students with free tuition and support for basic living expenses, including housing and food. He will also make college affordable for all students by providing tuition subsidies for students from families earning up to $150,000.
  • Get students on the path to college early by notifying high schoolers about their Pell Grant eligibility starting in 9th grade and completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for most students.
  • Support college completion, not just enrollment. Pete will set a goal to achieve 10 million more graduates with high quality college degrees and credentials over the next decade. To achieve this, Pete will increase funding by $50 billion for Minority Serving Institutions, including Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and incentivize public colleges to improve completion outcomes, especially for students of color.Field, Kelly. “More Hispanics are going to college and graduating, but disparity persists.” PBS News Hour. May 14, 2018.
  • Make student loans more affordable. One in three Latino students who started college in 2004 defaulted on their student loans by 2016, compared to one in five non-Latino white borrowers.Fain, Paul. “Digging Deeper on Student Loan Default Rates.” Inside Higher Ed. June 22, 2018. Pete will automatically enroll borrowers in affordable, income-driven repayment plans if they fall behind. He will cancel student debt for borrowers who attended unaffordable for-profit programs.
  • Provide access to higher education for DACA recipients.
  • Invest in our local communities by creating a $1 billion community college fund to address common barriers for college students.
  • Expand and strengthen American apprenticeships through a $10 billion investment.
  • Double annual investments in career and technical education programs in high schools and colleges.

Health Care

The current administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act and roll back access to health care have already taken a toll on Latino health, which experts note “is now more endangered than ever.”Carrión, Fabiola. “Because of Trump, Latino Health Care is More Endangered Than Ever.” National Health Law Program. October 2, 2018. Latino children’s uninsurance rate has increased,Alker, Joan, and Joyce Roygardner. “The Number of Uninsured Children is on the Rise.” Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Center for Families and Children. October 2019. drug prices and premiums have skyrocketed, and health care outcomes are worsening for all Americans, especially Latinos.Kolata, Gina, and Sabrina Tavernise. “It’s Not Just Poor White People Driving a Decline in Life Expectancy.” The New York Times. November 29, 2019. Further, significant inequities in health remain when it comes to access to quality care for Latinos compared to their white counterparts. Pete is committed to taking bold steps to transform our health care system by making it more affordable, equitable, and just.

Center the lives of Latinos in our nation’s health care system by intentionally addressing health inequities through Health Equity Zones.

Roll back the current administration’s cruel attempts to weaken federal health programs, which disproportionately affect Latinos.

  • End Medicaid work requirements for good.
  • Strengthen the ACA marketplaces.
  • Roll back the current administration’s efforts to cut the SNAP program.
  • Reverse the public charge rule change, which was implemented to intimidate Latinos from accessing medical care.
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Guarantee access to affordable health coverage and dramatically reduce drug prices.

Latinos are more likely to be uninsured than almost any other demographic: one of every five—about 12 million—lack insurance. Uninsured Rates for the Nonelderly by Race/Ethnicity.” Kaiser Family Foundation. 2018. As a result, Latinos are less likely to access crucial preventive services and are more likely to forego care for chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

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  • Drastically reduce drug prices for everyone. Pete’s drug pricing policies, shared in his Affordable Medicines for All plan, empowers the federal government to negotiate drug prices.
  • Eliminate disparities in Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico.
  • Eliminate the five-year waiting period for green card holders gaining access public health insurance programs.

Improve mental health outcomes and well-being.

Fueled by this administration’s racist rhetoric and immigration policies, Latino mental health has deteriorated significantly since 2016.Wan, William, Bever, Lindsey. “Trump’s presidency may be making Latinos sick.” The Washington Post. July 19, 2019. This deterioration has taken place against the backdrop of a broken mental health care system and high stigma towards mental illness in the Latino community. To improve Latinos’ mental health, Pete will:

  • Ensure access to comprehensive mental health services for everyone. Pete’s Healing and Belonging in America plan​ will also reduce stigma by changing the narrative around mental health.
  • Increase funding for culturally-respectful mental health services. Pete will invest in identifying and training future clinicians to ensure they are prepared to engage with communities in culturally-, linguistically-, and historically-appropriate ways.

Criminal Justice

Latinos in America are 3.1 times as likely to be incarcerated as white Americans, and 53 percent more likely to be convicted of a drug crime.Report to the United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Legal System. The Sentencing Project. April 19, 2018; “Criminal Justice Reform.” League of United Latin American Citizens. 2018. They are more likely to be stopped by the police and, when stopped, are three times more likely to be searched than white Americans.Ibid. As laid out in his Securing Justice plan for criminal justice reform, Pete is committed to reducing the number of people incarcerated in the United States, and ensuring that fewer Latino families are torn apart by these unfair and racist systems by reducing incarceration by 50 percent nationwide.

  • On the federal level, eliminate incarceration for drug possession, reduce sentences for other drug offenses, and apply these reductions retroactively.
  • Legalize marijuana and automatically expunge past convictions.
  • Eliminate mandatory minimums.
  • Direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to explore sentencing caps for all crimes.
  • End the criminalization of poverty and its link to incarceration.
  • Develop incentives to encourage states to standardize and make public data available related to the use of force, line-of-duty deaths, policing activities (including traffic stops), officer safety and wellness, officer misconduct, arrests and charging, crime, and racial impact


Safe, affordable housing is a foundation for families to thrive. But for too many families, particularly Latinos, access to housing is severely constrained. Latino communities were severely impacted by the foreclosure crisis: 20 percent of foreclosures were in Latino communities, where only 10 percent of homes are located.Lerner, Michelle. “Lingering impact of foreclosure crisis felt most in Hispanic and black communities, study says.” The Washington Post. May 21, 2019. Among Latino homeowners, a larger share of wealth is tied up in home equity than is true for white Americans.Ibid. As a result, many Latino families are still recovering from the crisis.

Among renters, Latinos have disproportionately high eviction rates and are significantly more likely to live in inadequate housing, defined as homes with issues like water leaks, holes in the floor, or pests.Desmond, Matthew. “Poor Black Women are Evicted at Alarming Rates, Setting Off a Chain of Hardship.” MacArthur Foundation. March 2014. Salud America. “How Affordable Housing Impacts Latino Health.” April 17, 2019. These factors make it harder for Latino families to build wealth and access opportunity, and contribute to poor mental and physical health. Pete will ensure that his policies directly confront these disparities.

Latino Policy_Summary

Unlock access to affordable housing for millions of Latino households.

  • Build over two million new affordable housing units for people with low incomes.
  • Ensure safe and stable homes for people who live in public housing. Pete will modernize and repair public housing.
  • Ensure that rental assistance goes to all eligible families with children, expanding support to nearly five million families.

Help achieve housing equity by increasing homeownership for Latino families, preventing evictions, and combating predatory housing finance practices.

The homeownership gap between Latinos and white individuals has dramatically increased since the 2008 housing crisis, worsening a racial wealth gap.Ibid. In 2016, the average Latino household held $6,300 in total wealth, compared to $140,500 for white households. Latinos are also nearly twice as likely as white people to rent their homes and are more likely to be displaced due to gentrification.Richardson, Jason, Bruce Mitchell, Juan Franco. “Shifting Neighborhoods.” National Community Reinvestment Coalition. March 19, 2019. To increase Latino homeownership and address these disparities, Pete will:

  • Enable successful homeownership for up to one million new first-time homebuyers by investing $4 billion in matching funds to scale education and financing assistance programs.
  • Prevent evictions and increase housing stability. Pete will establish an emergency assistance matching fund for states and municipalities to provide short-term rental assistance that keeps families in their homes, and provide them access to housing counseling services to support long-term stability.
  • Combat discriminatory housing practices by expanding the Fair Housing Act to include protections against source-of-income discrimination, and reinstating the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
  • Promote inclusive development and combat gentrification.
  • End profiteering that hurts low-income tenants.

History & Culture

The Latino community is an integral force in pushing our nation toward achieving inclusive, progressive ideals. Pete’s administration will ensure Latino history and culture is embedded into American history and culture. He will:

  • Support creating a national museum of the American Latino.
  • Help document and celebrate Latino history and culture. Pete will provide funding and promote special exhibits and other activities to document and celebrate Latino history and the contributions of Latino individuals and communities.
  • Expand the representation of Latino people and history in our National Parks System.

For decades, Americans have rallied to declare el pueblo unido, jamás será vencido—the people united, will never be defeated. To join us and learn more, text TOGETHER to 25859.

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