A Working Agenda for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders
We need to collect comprehensive disaggregated data if we are going to make big structural changes so that our democracy works for everyone. This document is a work in progress and will continue to be updated based on input and insight from Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) activists, community leaders, organizers, policy experts, and stakeholders.
More than seventy-five years after Fred Korematsu went to the Supreme Court to fight for the human rights of the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were unconstitutionally incarcerated, we are still failing to guarantee true equality for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump demonized communities of color, immigrants and Muslims. Hate violence against Muslims, Sikhs, and other South Asians spiked after the 2016 election. The Trump Administration has funneled Asian American asylum seekers into detention, deported Southeast Asian refugees who’ve lived here for decades, and imposed a racist Muslim Travel Ban. But, we didn’t get here overnight. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the colonization of Hawaii and nuclear testing in the Pacific Islands, there’s a long history of discrimination against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
Discrimination has consequences—but the model minority myth and data erasure often serve to mask those consequences.
The AAPI community includes nearly 50 diverse racial and ethnic groups, but the data we gather today doesn’t capture the richness of the communities—or significant differences on key economic and social outcomes. Everywhere you look, aggregated data hides Asian American families that are hanging on by their fingernails. Income inequality in Asian American communities nearly doubled from 1970 to 2016—Burmese, Nepalese, Hmong, and Bangladeshi Americans make, on average, less than half what people in some other AAPI groups make. Some Asian American groups have high rates of educational attainment—but because of high costs and systemic barriers, less than 15 percent of Fijian, Micronesian, and other Pacific Islanders graduate college. Data erasure limits our abilities to tackle the structural barriers faced by distinct AAPI communities and others, such as Middle Eastern and North African communities, whose experiences are also not captured or reflected by our existing data collection processes.
Data equity is a civil rights issue. And from the wage gap to the 2020 Census, communities that have been perpetually erased are calling to be counted and have their experiences made visible. That’s why, as president, I will form a White House Task Force on data equity to implement best practices. This Task Force will work with AAPI communities to collect comprehensive, disaggregated data in key surveys and in all agencies and departments across the federal government by the end of my first term. And I will fight for a fully-resourced and more inclusive Census to ensure a full and accurate count. I believe that you measure what you care about — and I care about building a government that works for everyone in the diverse AAPI community.
I’ll listen to and learn from the AAPI leaders who have been at the forefront of the fight for data equity, language access, and racial and economic justice. From civil rights leader Fred Korematsu and labor leaders Larry Itliong and Phillip Vera Cruz to anti-racist organizers like Grace Lee Boggs, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have helped lead the fight for justice. And today, AAPI organizers are continuing that fight, as survivors of the Japanese internment camps oppose Donald Trump’s racist immigration policies, Native Hawaiians protect sacred land on Mauna Kea, and AAPI women like Saru Jayaraman and Ai-Jen Poo led the fight for fair wages and safer working conditions.
If we’re going to reshape our country and our economy, restore our government, and save our democracy, we need to be willing to fight for bold, structural solutions to the problems we face as a nation. That means tackling generations of racial injustice and systemic discrimination head on and building a government that works for everyone.
In our country, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love and build a better future for your children. That should be the fundamental promise of America.
This is my commitment to AAPI communities. When I’m President, I will continue to fight and work with the communities to put real economic and political power in the hands of working people. Here’s how we’ll do it:
Everyone deserves a safe, decent, and affordable place to live, but for many AAPI families affordable housing is out of reach. Between 2000 and 2014, the cost of housing in areas with the most AAPI families went up a staggering 112%.
AAPI families have a lower homeownership rate than the nation as a whole—and in some cases, much lower. In 2015, homeownership rates were only 24% for Nepalese households and 33% for Burmese households. The Native Hawaiians home lands waiting list has a 28,000-person backlog. And in the lead-up to the financial crisis, government regulators ignored warning signs as predatory financial institutions targeted minority communities with subprime mortgages that sucked billions of dollars in wealth out of those communities.
Elizabeth’s Housing Plan for America will lower rents, take a first step in closing the racial wealth gap, create 1.5 million good new jobs, and make it easier for Americans to access affordable housing by:
Investing $500 billion over the next ten years to build, preserve, and restore millions of units that will be affordable to lower-income families.
Expanding funding for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program and reauthorizing the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act with the full inclusion of Native Hawaiians.
Strengthening fair housing law and enforcement.
Giving HUD the tools to take on modern-day redlining and fight housing segregation.
This plan is a big win for America’s families. Click here to read more about Elizabeth’s plan for safe and affordable housing.
But that’s not all. Gentrification is displacing communities of color as rising rents are crushing millions of families and landlords are exploiting their power over tenants. In New York City, half of all AAPI renters are “rent burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. From Los Angeles to Boston, older Chinatown residents are facing eviction and displacement. And the Trump administration’s racist housing agenda is putting tens of thousands of immigrant renter families and their children at risk of eviction from public housing.
Elizabeth will expand on her affordable housing plan by protecting and empowering renters. She will:
Secure tenants’ rights nationwide and fight exploitation by corporate landlords.
Withdraw HUD’s racist “mixed status rule” and extend protections to end housing discrimination based on tenants’ immigration status and source of income.
Tackle the growing cost of rent.
Invest in safe, healthy, and green public housing.
Rein in payday lenders and other predatory lending practices.
Click here to learn more about her plan to protect and empower renters.
In the wealthiest country on the planet, access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the rich. AAPIs make up nearly 5% of all young children and are the fastest growing population in the U.S. However, over 50% of Asian American communities are in child care deserts, and today, child care for two young children would cost the typical AAPI working mother nearly half of her personal income.
Elizabeth’s Universal Child Care and Early Learning plan will guarantee high-quality child care and early education for every child in America from birth to school age. This means that high-quality child care and early education will be free for millions of families and affordable for everyone.
Under this new plan:
Experts project that 12 million kids will take advantage of these new high-quality options—nearly double the number that currently receive formal child care outside the home.
Parents get the security of knowing there are affordable, instructional child care options for their kids, and more parents can work more hours if they choose to, producing stronger economic growth.
Quality early education will produce better health, educational, and employment outcomes well into adulthood.
Elizabeth’s plan improves the lives of child care workers, too. AAPI women in the child care workforce average only about $9.62 per hour. Under Elizabeth’s plan, more than a million child-care workers will get higher wages because they are doing the educational work that teachers do and will be paid like comparable public school teachers.
This plan gives every kid a fair shot. Click here to read more about Elizabeth’s plan for universal child care and early learning.
Climate change is the existential threat of our time—but it also presents an opportunity to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and the middle class on the way to powering our economy on 100% clean energy.
A comprehensive approach to addressing climate change would be a top priority in a Warren administration. To really bend the curve on climate, we’ll need sustained big, structural change across a range of industries and sectors—from green manufacturing to sustainable agriculture. That’s why Elizabeth has woven Green New Deal policies throughout her plans, and that’s why she’ll use all the levers of government to defeat the climate crisis.
All told, independent economists have estimated that Elizabeth’s plans to address the climate crisis through a Green New Deal will inject over $10 trillion dollars into our economy and create over 10 million new jobs.
Elizabeth will also ensure that justice is at the center of our response to climate change. Decades of discrimination and environmental racism have compounded in communities that have been overlooked for too long. Chinese and Korean Americans face the highest cancer risk from exposure to carcinogenic air pollutants across all groups. In 2012, a Chevron refinery pipeline fire in Richmond, California — home to thousands of Laotians — sent 15,000 residents to the hospital, after years of community organizing against the expansion of the refinery. Older Marshallese immigrants in Iowa still bear the health legacy of U.S. nuclear bomb testing of the Islands.
Elizabeth believes that the solution to our crisis of environmental injustice must be led by the communities who are most affected by industrial pollution, which is why the federal government must support and uplift their efforts — including by better identifying at-risk communities and prioritizing resources to support them and remediate historic injustices. A Warren administration will direct at least $1 trillion in climate investments into frontline communities, create millions of new good, middle-class union jobs to fight climate change, honor our commitments to fossil fuel workers, hold corporate polluters accountable, restore protections that safeguard our air and water, and elevate the voices of frontline and fenceline community leaders at the highest levels of our government.
While any community can be hit by a hurricane, flood, extreme weather, or fire, the impact of these kinds of disasters are particularly devastating for low-income communities, people with disabilities, and people of color. Pacific Island territories are facing some of the most dire effects of climate change, like the rising sea levels and extreme heat in Guam.
As president, Elizabeth will prioritize at-risk populations in disaster planning, response, and recovery—including undocumented immigrants and language-diverse communities. She will invest in building climate resilience and disaster preparedness and response in all communities. She’ll increase investments in pre-disaster mitigation in vulnerable communities, monitor post-disaster recovery, and address climate gentrification to ensure equitable recovery for all communities.
Click here to read more about some of Elizabeth’s plans to combat the climate crisis and our crisis of environmental injustice.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with over 2 million people in prison and jail.
Without disaggregated data, we are missing the ways our criminal justice system has impacted AAPI communities. A quarter of state agencies do not include “Asian” as its own race category, limiting the amount of reliable data, and inadequate disaggregation obscures disparities across different Asian ethnic groups. But from information that is available, it is clear that certain AAPI communities experience discrimination at the hands of law enforcement, security personnel, and the criminal justice system at rates far higher than others. For example, the incarceration rate of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders in Hawaii is at least four times higher than for non-Hispanic whites.
We also know that people of color disproportionately experience trauma at the hands of law enforcement, sometimes with life-altering consequences. In some cases, law enforcement has surveiled Muslim Americans who’ve done nothing wrong. And where law enforcement is mixed with immigration enforcement, immigrants and their families are less likely to trust law enforcement agencies, and overall public safety suffers.
We can’t tackle the problems plaguing our criminal justice system by nibbling around the edges. Real reform requires examining every step of this system: From what we choose to criminalize, to how law enforcement and prosecutors engage with communities and the accused, to how long we keep people behind bars, how we treat them when they’re there, and how we reintegrate them when they return.
Elizabeth’s plan will end cash bail that keeps people in jail for being poor, repeal the 1994 crime bill that exacerbated our mass incarceration crisis, get rid of private prisons and detention centers so corporations can’t violate rights and profit from people’s pain, end immigrant-only prisons, separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement, and fundamentally change how police work is done in America. A Warren administration will redefine what it means to invest in public safety by prioritizing solutions that lift people up, rather than locking them up.
Click here to continue reading about Elizabeth’s plan on comprehensive criminal justice reform.
People with disabilities are still fighting for economic security, equal opportunity, and inclusion. People of color with disabilities face the "double burden” of racism and ableism. Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students with disabilities face higher rates of discipline than their white peers. And AAPIs with disabilities report earning nearly $30,000 less in wages than people without disabilities.
As President, Elizabeth will work in partnership with the disability community to combat ableism. And she will fight alongside them for justice across all aspects of life and to fulfill the goals of the ADA: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self sufficiency.
Elizabeth will start by making clear that disability is a priority in her administration, creating a National Office of Disability Coordination to ensure that federal programs work together to support people with disabilities. Her plan will also expand Supplemental Security Insurance benefits to citizens in all territories, including Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands, to establish equal rights to SSI for all Americans.
Elizabeth will also fight for every kid in America to have access to a high-quality public education. She will fight to fully fund IDEA and tackle discriminatory practices like zero-tolerance discipline policies. She will also fight to make appropriate services available to English Language Learners and immigrant students with disabilities and to fully fund research on how to best incorporate culturally responsive practices in special education services.
Elizabeth will establish new protections for immigrants with disabilities and end the Trump inhumane immigration agenda that has coupled xenophobia with ableism. Whether they are held in detention, being screened, or taking the naturalization exam, she’ll ensure that immigrants with disabilities have access to appropriate accommodations in every aspect of the immigration process. Elizabeth will roll back the Trump administration’s ableist Public Charge rule change and establish an Office of New Americans that will ensure immigrants with disabilities can receive support — from early intervention services to vocational rehabilitation — tailored to their needs and experiences.
Elizabeth will also:
Fight for economic security for people with disabilities by rewriting the rules of the economy to end labor market discrimination and exploitation and foster inclusivity.
Ensure that technology is used to advance the interests of people with disabilities.
Protect the rights and civil liberties of people with disabilities in areas like voting, criminal justice, and parental custody.
Promote affordable, accessible, and green living.
Ensure consistent access to affordable, high quality health care.
Make America a leader in the fight for disability rights around the world.
Click here to read more about Elizabeth’s plan for protecting the rights and equality of people with disabilities.
State after state after state have taken action to make it harder for citizens, and in particular citizens of color, to vote. In 2016 Georgia turned away thousands of AAPI voters seeking to register to vote because their names did not match slightly different spellings on other forms of identification. And dozens of states adopted the now-suspended Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which disproportionately targets and purges Asian Americans with common last names. Nearly 1 in 3 AAPIs are Limited English Proficiency, with percentages even higher in certain Asian communities, such as the Bhutanese community where 73% of the community is LEP. Yet, Ohio sent voter confirmation mailings only in English, making it harder for limited English proficient (LEP) voters to access the ballot box. And other states are also failing to ensure that the ballot box is accessible to LEP voters. One 2012 study found that 45% of the sample had missing or poorly displayed translated materials, and 23% lacked even one Asian language bilingual poll worker.
The right to vote is a fundamental right, and Elizabeth’s plan ensures that racist and corrupt politicians don’t undermine it or our democracy. Her plan bans purging voter rolls arbitrarily and would require independent redistricting commissions to prevent gerrymandering. And where racist or corrupt politicians refuse to follow the law, the federal government will temporarily take over the administration of their federal elections to guarantee the fundamental right to vote.
Elizabeth will mandate automatic voter registration and same-day registration for federal elections. She’ll fight to make Election Day a national holiday, require all federal elections to have a minimum of 15 days of early voting, expand voting hours, allow the option to vote with a sworn statement of identity instead of an ID, ensure convenient polling locations, and offer voting by mail. Elizabeth will also ensure that every polling location has secure and accessible ballot machines. She’ll research improving voting security and accessibility for all people, including those people for whom English isn’t their primary language.
And she’ll fight to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Native American Voting Rights Act to shut down a host of festering discriminatory practices.
This plan would make voting, and our democracy, stronger, more secure, and more inclusive. To continue reading about Elizabeth’s plan to strengthen our democracy, click here.
Changes in our economy have left millions of working families hanging on by their fingernails. Wages have largely stagnated, even as corporate profits have soared and the cost-of-living has skyrocketed. Today, the share of national income that goes to labor has declined and is near its lowest point in almost 70 years. A staggering 70% of Hmong, Cambodian, and Vietnamese Californians report that they’ve experienced economic hardship, like not having the money to pay a monthly bill.
AAPI workers have a long tradition of fighting for labor power, fair pay, and dignified working conditions. But as of 2018, just 8.4% of AAPI workers are union members—less than any other group measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These trends reflect a shift of trillions of dollars out of the pockets of working families. And they are all driven by a single underlying problem: workers don’t have enough power.
That’s why returning power to working people will be the overarching goal of a Warren presidency. Elizabeth’s plan to empower workers and raise wages will:
Strengthen organizing, collective bargaining, and the right to strike.
Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for all workers, including workers with disabilities and tipped workers. The restaurant industry has been the largest employer of AAPI men—many of whom are subject to the $2.13 an hour sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. My plan would also provide more overtime pay and protect pensions and other retirement savings.
Increase worker choice and control by requiring large companies to let workers elect board members.
Increase funding for the EEOC, OSHA, the DOL Civil Rights Center, and the wage and hour division of the Labor Department, which are crucial to protect the safety, well-being, and rights of AAPI workers who continue to face major safety and health hazards and harassment and racism in the workplace.
Strengthen protections for home care workers, including ensuring equal treatment for them under our labor laws, guaranteeing that all home care workers can join a union or other worker organization, creating training and certificate programs to address safety, and enforcing adequate federal nursing home staff minimum requirements, and reversing the Trump-era rule that prevents home care workers that work with Medicaid beneficiaries from using paycheck deductions for health insurance contributions and union dues.
Enact key protections for gig workers. Research suggests that AAPIs, especially AAPI part-time workers, are disproportionately likely to work in the so-called “gig economy,” where they’re vulnerable to being misclassified as independent contractors, rather than employees—denying them important workplace rights like the minimum wage or protections against sexual harassment. As President, Elizabeth will push to end worker misclassification through legislation and administrative tools and to amend antitrust law to protect gig workers’ ability to organize and bargain collectively.
Open up promotion pathways. AAPI workers are the least likely group to be promoted into leadership positions. Elizabeth will require every federal agency to incorporate diversity as part of their core strategic plan and create support networks through a government-wide mentorship program that centers employees of color.
Extend labor rights to all workers, including farm workers and domestic workers. Both farm workers and domestic workers are not covered by the NLRA and not fully covered by the FLSA and the OSH Act. These exclusions hurt millions of workers and have no justification. That’s why Elizabeth will fight to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and Fairness for Farm Workers Act, proposals that address these historical injustices. Elizabeth’s also committed to ensuring that these workers have the right to organize, whether through the NLRA or some other means;
Ensure employers can’t exploit undocumented workers. Elizabeth will fight to amend the NLRA to overturn Hoffman Plastics, a Supreme Court case that denied millions of undocumented workers redress when employers violate their rights.
Nominate a demonstrated advocate for workers to fill any Supreme Court vacancy.
Click here to read Elizabeth’s full plan on empowering workers and raising wages.
Elizabeth will also fight for a fair work week. That includes:
Requiring employers to give two weeks’ advance notice of work schedules and empowering workers to ask for schedules that work for them, without fear of retaliation.
Guaranteeing workers 11 hours between shifts and compensating them with higher pay for hours voluntarily worked within that window.
Removing the perverse incentives that keep giant corporations from making their workers full-time, extending benefit protections to part-time workers, and requiring employers to offer additional hours to existing part-time workers before hiring new ones.
Elizabeth will also fight to make paid family and medical leave available to all workers. Nearly one in five AAPIs are caregivers for young children, elders, or loved ones who are sick or disabled. But over two-thirds of AAPI caregivers—mostly AAPI women—work while caring for their family members, in part because many can’t afford to take an unpaid leave. Paid leave gives workers the power to make decisions that are right for their families without fear of financial consequences.
Together, these changes will shift power back towards working people, boost America’s labor movement, and help create an economy that works for everyone.
ENTREPRENEURS OF COLOR
The playing field is tilted against entrepreneurs of color. Asian Americans have opened hundreds of thousands of small businesses in recent years—but to this day, AAPI small business owners face systemic barriers to success. In a survey of small businesses serving low-income communities, nearly a third of AAPI small business owners reported that limited English proficiency or lack of access to credit was a barrier to starting and running their small business. These systemic barriers drive AAPI entrepreneurs to turn to financing from friends and family to start businesses more often than any other racial or ethnic group. And existing data simply doesn’t reflect the full, diverse picture of AAPI small business owners.
Elizabeth’s plan creates a new Small Business Equity Fund with $7 billion in funding to provide grants to entrepreneurs of color. It will operate through states and municipalities and be targeted at closing the startup capital gap for entrepreneurs of color by limiting it to those who have less than $100,000 in household wealth. It’ll also direct all state-level efforts to distribute this new funding to partner with diverse investment managers. And it will support 100,000 minority-owned businesses and is expected to provide over a million jobs – many of which would serve communities of color.
This Small Business Equity Fund is just one tool to address the racial wealth gap in our economy so that it’s working for all of us. To continue reading about this plan, click here.
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST WHITE NATIONALISM
Domestic right-wing terrorism is completely incompatible with American values. It’s a threat to American safety and security, and Elizabeth will use every tool we have to fight back. Here’s how:
Prioritize the investigation and prosecution of white nationalist violence. Domestic extremist violence has spiked in the past couple of years, and hate groups have grown by 30% since Donald Trump began his campaign for President. Yet, hate crimes and other civil rights violations rank as the FBI’s fifth priority, out of a total of eight. Elizabeth will make combatting white nationalist crime a top priority of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
Keeping guns away from those at risk of violence. Over 10,300 hate crimes are committed using a gun on average each year. As bias incidents targeting Muslim communities increase, we’ve seen alarming incidents of gun violence against Muslim and Sikh communities—including a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, the senseless murder of an Indian man in Kansas, and the murder of three Muslim college students in North Carolina. Elizabeth has a gun violence prevention plan that will keep weapons out of the hands of violent domestic extremists by expanding background checks, implementing extreme risk protection laws, and preventing those convicted of hate crimes from owning a gun.
Early intervention to prevent extremist violence. In the years since Trump’s election, educators have noticed an increase in hate and bias incidents in schools. However, anti-Muslim incidents are less likely to result in disciplinary action or communication with parents. Elizabeth will invest in evidenced-based efforts to protect our kids from hatred at school and to proactively address racism and intolerance before they have a chance to grow.
Police reform to protect targeted communities. About one in every eight people who identify as Asian American report that they or a family member have been unfairly stopped or treated by the police, and in some cases police departments have infiltrated mosques or conducted sting operations directed towards Muslim Americans. Even programs for Countering Violent Extremism have too often harmed law-abiding members of minority communities. Elizabeth has a plan for police reform that would fundamentally change how police work is done in America, replacing failed policies with effective, evidence-based practices that do not violate individual rights.
Building and rebuilding trust in target communities. Studies have shown that victims of crimes of bias experience more trauma compared to victims of similar, non-bias crimes. And when a hate crime is committed, not only the victim, but the entire community suffers - because the crime is intended to drive fear in anyone who looks, talks, or worships like the victim. Elizabeth will invest in the strength and resilience of every targeted community, including by working with local community leaders and directing the CDC to research the health effects of white nationalism.
Click here to continue reading about how Elizabeth will address white nationalist violence and associated acts of terror.
FREE COLLEGE AND STUDENT DEBT
Higher education opened a million doors for Elizabeth. It’s how the daughter of a janitor from Oklahoma got to become a teacher, a law school professor, a U.S. Senator, and eventually, a candidate for President of the United States. Today, it’s virtually impossible for a young person to find that kind of opportunity.
Despite the “Model Minority” myth, higher education is still inaccessible in many AAPI communities. In California, Asians are 49% more likely than other racial groups to have college degrees, but when that data is disaggregated, disparities among AAPI communities become clear. For example, among adults in California, only 15% of Tongans, 12% of Fijians, and 11% of Samoans have bachelor's degrees—much lower than the California state average of 30%. For many AAPI aspiring students, the cost of higher education is just too much. Asian American students face the highest gap between what they must pay to attend college and the financial resources available to them, no matter the students’ income level or the type of school they attend.
Elizabeth’s student loan debt cancellation plans will:
Cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for more than 95% of Americans who carry it.
Beginning on day one of her presidency, use existing laws to implement her student loan cancellation plan that will offer relief to 42 million Americans.
Provide an enormous middle-class stimulus that will boost economic growth, increase home purchases, and fuel a new wave of small business formation.
Direct the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights to conduct a wide scale investigation into the roles that colleges, state higher education systems, and the student loan industry play in contributing to racial disparities in student borrowing and student loan outcomes.
Once we’ve cleared out the debt that’s holding down an entire generation of Americans, we’ll ensure that we never have another student debt crisis again, and that our higher education system serves all students equally. That’s why Elizabeth has a plan to:
Give every American the opportunity to attend a two-year or four-year public college or technical school without paying a dime in tuition or fees. Over 80% of AAPI students attend public two- or four-year colleges.
Make free college truly universal—not just in theory, but in practice—by making higher education of all kinds more inclusive and available to every single American, prohibiting schools from considering citizenship status or criminal history in admissions decisions, and investing an additional $100 billion in Pell Grants to expand funding for non-tuition expenses and provide aid to more people.
Require public colleges to complete an annual audit to figure out what’s causing racial gaps in enrollment and graduation rates—and take steps to solve them.
Establishes a minimum $50 billion fund for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions, including Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) to ensure these institutions have the resources they need.
Click here to continue reading about how Elizabeth will cancel student loan debt and here to see the steps she will take beginning on day one of her presidency to make higher education affordable for all.
Immigrants have always been a vital source of American strength—and they are every bit as much a part of America as those who were born in the United States. That’s why Elizabeth has a plan to create a fair immigration system that keeps families together, preserves our security, grows our economy, and reflects our values.
Donald Trump has weaponized a flawed immigration system and advanced policies of cruelty and division that demonize immigrants—which directly harm AAPI and Middle Eastern and North African communities. He has instituted a Muslim Ban, aggressively weakened asylum protections, and slashed refugee numbers. He’s also tried to revoke protections from recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), jeopardizing the future of thousands of young AAPI people, attempting to withdraw Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepalis, and plunging Syrians and Yemenis TPS recipients into fearful uncertainty. And his administration has ratched up immigration enforcement action against AAPIs who have been here for years—46% of Iraqi people detained by ICE have been in the U.S. for more than 20 years and Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees who have spent their entire lives here in this country have faced deportation. The Trump Administration is now moving to deport Hmong and Lao immigrants.
Elizabeth believes our laws and our values compel us to help those fleeing violence and oppression. She will:
Decriminalize migration, significantly reduce detention and end private detention facilities, provide rights and due process for all immigrants, and reaffirm asylum protections for those fleeing violence.
Eliminate abusive enforcement by remaking Customs and Border Protection and ICE from top to bottom in a way that reflects our values, and holding immigration enforcement to the same due process standards as other law enforcement agencies—no more warrantless arrests or stops deep in the interior of our country.
End the Muslim Ban on Day One, reinstate Temporary Protected Status designations and Deferred Enforced Departure to protect individuals at risk in their home countries, and raise the refugee cap to at least 175,000 by the end of her first term.
Protect those seeking refuge, by providing information about the right to seek asylum and coordinating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help resettle children and families who need protection.
Elizabeth supports additional legal immigration, including expanded family reunification and reducing the family reunification backlog. And she knows that, for the good of our economy and our communities, it’s long past time to provide a path forward for the approximately 11 million undocumented individuals—including the 1.7 million undocumented AAPIs—currently living and working in the Unites States. She will also:
Reinstate the DACA program and protections for our Dreamers and their families, and expand the program to cover more young people.
Extend the individual exercise of discretion to offer deferred action protections to immigrants who have built careers and families in our country.
Roll back the Trump administration’s Public Charge rule change, which is forcing immigrant families to choose between staying together and ensuring their children have access to critical services.
Make it easier to become a citizen or apply for legal status by removing unnecessary legal, administrative, and financial barriers.
Push for a far-reaching legislative fix that provides a fair but achievable path to citizenship.
Click here to read Elizabeth’s plan for a fair and welcoming immigration system.
IMPROVING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Every kid in America should have the same access to a high-quality public education—no matter where they live, the color of their skin, or how much money their parents make. The “model minority myth” portrays AAPI students as highly successful academically and, eventually, professionally. However, disaggregated data paints a more complex picture. In some AAPI communities, large percentages of the population lack a high school diploma or GED equivalent, 42% in the Hmong community, 41% of Laotians, and 40% of Cambodians, all more than double the national average. It is crucial that we better collect disaggregated data, and then use it to better combat the specific structural barriers faced by individual AAPI communities. Elizabeth has supported the call for better disaggregating data regarding AAPI students, and as President will include the Department of Education in the fight.
Elizabeth has a comprehensive plan for our public education system. Her plan invests hundreds of billions of dollars in our public schools—paid for by a two-cent wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million—and makes a series of legislative and administrative changes:
Fund schools adequately and equitably: School districts serving 75% or more students of color receive $23 billion less in funding than districts serving 75% or more white students. Elizabeth would invest hundreds of billions of additional dollars in Title I and incentivize states to fund schools more progressively, so that all students have access to a great public education.
Invest an additional $50 billion in school infrastructure across the country so that no student has to attend schools with lead pipes, molding walls, or crumbling textbooks.
Renew the fight against segregation and discrimination in our schools: Elizabeth would reinstate and improve previous guidance protecting the civil rights of AAPI students. She will also increase funding for the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection to better monitor and remedy what’s broken in our public education system. Elizabeth is also committed to protecting English Language Learners who make up about 10% of the entire public school student population. Thanks to the 3,000 Chinese students and their families who challenged the San Francisco Unified School District on its failure to provide equal access to public education in Lau v. Nichols, the Supreme Court affirmed for the first time the rights of linguistic minorities to public education and other crucial public services. However, in the years since that landmark decision, language access has continued to be a barrier for too many students. A Warren administration will enforce their rights to meaningful access to rigorous coursework, teachers, special education services, and integration with the rest of the student body, while fostering their home language. And her administration will also protect the rights of immigrant students, ensuring that all immigrant children have access to a quality education, no matter their native language, national origin, immigration status, or educational history.
Provide a warm, safe, and nurturing school climate for all our kids: Instead of increasing militarization of our schools, Elizabeth knows we need to invest in programs that make our kids feel safe and welcome at school. That means investing in more school-based mental health professionals, expanding culturally relevant and responsive curricula, and passing legislation to fight bullying, including on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. We also must eliminate zero-tolerance policies that disproportionately impact Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander students and replace them with restorative justice programs to pull students into the classroom instead of pushing them out.
Treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are: AAPI teachers make up just 2% of the teacher workforce, while the percentage of AAPI administrators is even lower. Elizabeth will strengthen the ability of educators to organize and bargain for just compensation, ensure that educators aren’t drowning in debt, and build a more diverse teacher and school leadership pipeline by investing in Grow Your Own and teacher residency programs and with a $50 billion investment in HBCUs, AANAPISIs, and other MSIs.
Stop the privatization of our public education system: All schools should be accountable to the communities where they’re based. That’s why Elizabeth supports the NAACP resolution for greater accountability and transparency of charter schools, a moratorium on federal funds toward the expansion of charter schools, and banning for-profit charter schools.
Click here to read more about Elizabeth’s plan on creating a great public school education for every student.
We need a president who will lift up the voices of LGBTQ+ people and fight back against discrimination. One in four LGBTQ+ people report experiencing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity over the course of a single year—but AAPI LGBTQ+ people face unique forms of intersecting discrimination too. Nearly one out of three transgender Asian American people live in poverty. Over the course of a single year, one out of three Asian transgender women experienced housing discrimination or instability because of their gender identity—but when housing discrimination pushes Asian transgender women into homelessness, nearly half avoid seeking help at homeless shelters because they fear being discriminated against or outright turned away for being transgender. And, especially as the Trump administration erases LGBTQ+ people from surveys used across the federal government, we lack critical data about discrimination against marginalized members of the AAPI LGBTQ+ community.
Elizabeth’s LGBTQ+ plan promises to:
Fight to pass the Equality Act to explicitly guarantee that no LGBTQ+ person in America is discriminated against for who they are or who they love.
End the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people and use every legal tool available to ban discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity through executive action.
Fight discrimination against transgender Asian women by banning intersecting forms of discrimination that transgender women of color face through executive action, and by creating a new grant program that will specifically channel resources into organizations by and for transgender people, especially transgender people of color.
Protect LGBTQ+ asylum seekers by recognizing asylum claims based on gender identity and sexual orientation and significantly reducing immigration detention, where undocumented LGBTQ+ people—particularly transgender women of color—are highly vulnerable.
Improve LGBTQ+ data collection, including by making sure best practices for measuring data about LGBTQ+ people is incorporated in key federal surveys, including the U.S. Census and American Community Survey. My administration is also committed to collecting disaggregated data about the AAPI LGBTQ+ community—because we know that the data we have hides important disparities within the community.
Click here to read Elizabeth’s plan on LGBTQ+ rights.
MEDICARE FOR ALL
87 million American adults were uninsured or “underinsured” in 2018, including nearly one in ten AAPI Americans who have no insurance at all. In states like Nevada and for some AAPI migrant communities that rate is even higher. 37 million American adults didn’t fill a prescription last year because of costs and 57 million people had trouble covering their medical bills.
And we know that people of color face significant barriers to getting the health care coverage they need. For example, people who are not proficient in English are almost four times as likely to be uninsured as the national average. Elizabeth opposes the Trump Administration's shameful proposal to roll back protections for people with limited English proficiency, making health care even less accessible.
Health care is a human right—and that’s why we need Medicare for All. Under Medicare for All, every single person in this country will be able to see the doctor they need and get their recommended treatments.
Elizabeth’s plan gets the most help to the most people as quickly as possible. Elizabeth will immediately act to lower the cost of prescription drugs, using every available tool to bring pressure on the big drug companies and bring down the high costs of many common prescription drugs, including Insulin and EpiPens. Within her first 100 days as president, Elizabeth will push Congress to give everyone the choice to join an improved Medicare program that covers vision, hearing, mental health, dental, and long term care. She will accomplish this by lowering the Medicare age limit to people over 50, and giving everyone the opportunity to join a Medicare for All option that will be free for children under 18 and for millions of families making under double the poverty level (about $50,000 for a family of four). That’s a total of nearly 135 million Americans who could get free, high-quality coverage.
Once everyone has the chance to try out the improved Medicare option, Elizabeth will push Congress, no later than her third year in office, to complete the transition to Medicare for All. Under Elizabeth’s plan, we’d be able to get Medicare for All—that also covers vision, hearing, mental health, dental, and long-term care—at the same cost of our current health care system and deliver an $11 trillion boost to families who will never pay another premium, deductible, or co-pay—all while not increasing middle-class taxes by one penny.
No more out-of-network costs, no surprises, and no one going broke because they get sick.
And Medicare for All will give every single person in this country, including U.S. citizen residents of territories, a guarantee of high-quality health care. And it would restore America’s broken promise of health care to immigrants from the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau.
Elizabeth will protect access to health care in underserved communities by increasing funding for Community Health Centers and creating a new $25 billion capital fund to expand access to care. She will also expand our health care workforce by investing more resources in building the pipeline of culturally-competent and language-inclusive medical professionals in areas with shortages, from community health aides to physicians, including in mental health.
To read more about how we’d pay for Medicare for All, click here.
PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE
On average every day 100 people are killed in the U.S. by a gun—in shootings that occur in our homes, on our streets, at our playgrounds. From 2013 to 2018, almost two out of three school shootings occurred at majority-minority schools. Just last fall, a shooting at a gathering of family and friends in the Hmong community in Fresno, CA left four dead. More than 75% of Asian American voters support stricter gun control laws.
In January, Elizabeth introduced comprehensive and aggressive gun control legislation to address the deadly crisis of gun violence in our communities. We can’t wait any longer. That’s why Elizabeth’s plan for gun violence prevention includes:
Executive action to rein in an out-of-control gun industry.
Breaking the NRA’s stranglehold on Congress by passing sweeping anti-corruption legislation and eliminating the filibuster so that our nation can no longer be held hostage by a small group of well-financed extremists.
Sending Congress comprehensive gun violence legislation which she will sign into law within the first 100 days.
Specifically, Elizabeth will use executive and regulatory authority to:
Expand background checks, bringing the vast majority of private sales under the existing background check umbrella.
Protect survivors of domestic abuse by closing the “boyfriend loophole” so that any intimate partner with a domestic violence conviction involving any romantic partner is not able to purchase a gun.
Elizabeth will also work with Congress to:
Create a federal licensing system — because just like a license is required to drive a car, it should be required to purchase a firearm or ammunition.
Keep military-style assault weapons off our streets by passing a new federal assault weapons ban, banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, and prohibiting accessories that make weapons more deadly.
Secure our schools by improving the Gun-Free School Zones Act to include college and university campuses.
Hold gun manufacturers liable for the harm they cause.
Prohibit anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning a gun. Instead of a president who winks and nods as white nationalism gets stronger in this country, we need a president who will use all the tools available to prevent it.
Elizabeth has set a goal to reduce gun violence deaths by at least 80% — we’ll begin by implementing solutions we believe will work, and constantly revisit and update those solutions based on new public health research.
Click here to read more about Elizabeth’s plan to address gun violence.
Extremist Republican lawmakers are trying to turn back the clock and deny access to reproductive health care.
As extremist Republican lawmakers try to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion clinics around the country are being forced to close. Twelve states have passed so-called “sex-selective abortion bans,” which are justified by racist stereotypes about Asian American women, despite clear evidence disproving the suggestion that Chinese, Indian, and Korean women in the United States are having sex-selective abortions. Some states are even trying to criminalize pregnancy outcomes. In 2015, Purvi Patel became the first woman sentenced to prison for allegedly self-inducing an abortion—and showed the world what could happen to AAPI people if abortion wasn’t legal.
The Trump administration’s attacks on reproductive health care are putting reproductive health services out of reach for too many AAPI people, and threats of ICE raids are jeopardizing the reproductive health of immigrants. People are scared and angry about what might happen to reproductive rights, but this isn’t the moment to back down. It’s time to fight back. As the women of color who started and championed the reproductive justice movement teach us, our fight must go beyond choice to ensure comprehensive reproductive services—including STI prevention and care, birth control, comprehensive sex education, care for pregnant moms, safe home and work environments, fair wages, and so much more. We must build a future that protects the right of every person to have children, the right of every person to not have children, and the right to bring children up in a safe and healthy environment.
Elizabeth’s plan calls on Congress to pass new federal laws that protect reproductive care by:
Calling on Congress to create federal, statutory rights that parallel the constitutional rights in Roe v. Wade and that preempt state Targeted Regulations on Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which are designed to functionally limit and eliminate access to abortion care.
Requiring preclearance for states and local governments with a history of violating Roe v. Wade to obtain federal approval before any laws or practices relating to reproductive rights are enforced.
Guaranteeing reproductive health coverage as part of all health coverage and ensuring that all future health coverage – including Medicare for All – includes contraception and abortion coverage.
Ensuring equal access and reproductive justice by cracking down on violence at abortion clinics and making sure no one is discriminated against at work or anywhere else for the choices they make about their bodies.
Repealing the Hyde Amendment, ending the Trump Administration’s gag rule, and fully supporting Title X family planning funding, which funded essential reproductive health services like contraception and treatment for cervical cancer, which more than one in eight Cambodian-Americans experience in their lives.
Click here to read about Elizabeth’s plan to protect reproductive rights.
SERVICE-MEMBERS AND VETERANS
From the highly decorated Japanese American 442nd Regiment to sitting Senator Tammy Duckworth, AAPI military leaders have given so much for our country. And Pacific Islands like Guam and Micronesia have some of the highest service rates in the country. All three of Elizabeth's brothers served in the military – so she knows the sacrifices that our service members and their families make for our country.
Donald Trump and his administration have repeatedly attacked and denigrated our soldiers, veterans, and their families, including by threatening to withdraw deportation protections of active troops and their families members and ending family reunification for WWII Filipino veterans.
Elizabeth believes that our service members are our biggest strategic advantage, and our national security community is only strengthened by its diversity. She will honor our service members and veterans and fight to provide our troops, military families, and veterans with the benefits they have earned. A Warren Administration will:
Protect earned benefits and ensure that pay remains competitive for all those who serve.
Reinstate the WWII Filipino Veterans Parole program, prevent the deportation of noncitizen veterans and military family members, and accelerate military naturalization applications.
Expand support for military families by increasing military spouse employment and access to affordable, quality child care on or near base.
Ensure all of our veterans and their families have the chance to get essential job training and degrees, without taking on a dime of student loan debt.
Ensure all military personnel have a safe, affordable place to live, by improving military housing, protecting families from landlord abuse, and holding private developers accountable.
Address white nationalism in the military by directing the Pentagon to tighten its background check process and to better track incidents of bias crimes and reports of affiliation with white nationalist or neo-Nazi groups in the ranks.
Ensure women are given equal opportunities to compete for command and promotions and enhance the quality of and access to health care for women service members, and protect LGBTQ+ service members and veterans.
Put the care and safety of those who serve or have served in uniform first, by fighting to eliminate military sexual assault and sexual harassment, end military and veteran suicide, treat the opioid and addiction crisis, and address invisible wounds of war like toxic exposure, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and traumatic brain injuries.
Protect our men and women in uniform from financial fraud and abuse and protect low-income and older veterans from scams targeting their pension benefits.
Uphold the rights of veterans with disabilities, ensuring access to quality health care, and supporting veteran caregivers.
Prepare service members to return to civilian life, eliminate the veterans’ benefits backlog, and fight veteran homelessness.
Fully invest in a 21st Century VA Health Care system worthy of the veterans it serves.
You can read her full plan to keep our promises to service members, veterans, and military families here.
SOCIAL SECURITY AND A SECURE RETIREMENT
One thing is clear: it’s getting harder to save enough for a decent retirement and Social Security has become a main source of income for most seniors. Cambodian and Bangladeshi seniors have over double the average elderly poverty rate — and poverty across AAPI senior groups is growing rapidly.
26% of Asian and Pacific Islanders beneficiaries relied on Social Security benefits as their only source of retirement income. 50% of older Asian workers work physically demanding jobs, leading to a higher likelihood of disability, early exit from the job market, and reduced retirement benefits.
Pay disparities and wrongheaded notions that value salaried work over time spent raising children or caring for elderly relatives are also barriers to financial security in retirement. 42% of AAPIs report providing elder care. When people spend time out of the workforce to provide care for a relative, their average lifetime earnings are smaller and so are their Social Security benefits. In 2017, the average annual Social Security benefit for Asian American and Pacific Islander women was only $13,009.
Elizabeth has helped lead the fight in Congress to expand Social Security, and her plan would provide the biggest and most progressive increase in Social Security benefits in nearly half a century. Elizabeth’s plan on expanding Social Security benefits would:
Increase standard Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits immediately by $200 a month — $2,400 a year — for every current and future beneficiary in America.
Change out-of-date Social Security rules to improve benefits for lower-income families, women, people of color, people with disabilities, and public-sector workers.
Value the work of caregivers by creating a new credit for people who take time out of the workforce to care for a family member — and recognize caregiving for the valuable work it is.
Extend Social Security benefits to full-time students until the age of 24 if they’ve got a parent who has a disability or has died.
Help people with disabilities build financial security and get the care they need by fully funding the Social Security Administration, rewriting eligibility rules to stop punishing beneficiaries for returning to work and eliminating the 5-month Social Security Disability Insurance benefits waiting period and the 24-month Medicare waiting period.
Click here to continue reading about Elizabeth’s plan on expanding Social Security.
VALUING WORK OF WOMEN OF COLOR
Our society and our economy demand so much of women—but they place a particular burden on Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Black, Latina, Native American, and other women of color. And—almost 60 years after the Equal Pay Act—AAPI women working full-time, year-round still make just 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
The closer you look at the data, the more varied it is. Pakistani women who work full-time make just 86 cents on the dollar compared to white, non-Hispanic men. Hmong women make just 57 cents, even while working year-round, and Burmese women make just 50 cents of what white, non-Hispanic men do. And AAPI women’s experiences aren’t one-dimensional: immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability all shape how a person’s work is valued in the workplace.
Our economy should be working just as hard for women of color as women of color work for our economy and their families. That’s why Elizabeth has a plan to boost wages for women of color, open up new pathways to the leadership positions they deserve, and strengthen and target enforcement against systemic discrimination—immediately.
On day one, we’ll issue an Executive Order to:
Require all federal contractors to guarantee fair pay for all workers. Companies with federal contracts employ about a quarter of the U.S. workforce. I will require every contractor to disclose data on workers’ pay and role, broken out by race, gender, and age. And I will direct agencies not to start contracts with poor track records on equal pay for equal work and management diversity — requiring contractors to do better for AAPI workers trapped by the “Bamboo Ceiling.”
Ensure fair pay and benefits for all workers. Nearly a third of all AAPI women working full-time in America earn less than $15 an hour. In my administration, that changes: federal contractors will have to pay all workers at least a $15 minimum wage and good benefits, including paid family leave, fair scheduling, and collective bargaining.
Ban companies that want federal contracts from using forced arbitration and non-compete clauses restricting workers’ rights. Forced arbitration and collective action waivers make it harder for employees to fight wage theft, discrimination, and harassment — harms that fall disproportionately on women of color. And abusive non-compete clauses for low- and middle-wage workers needlessly hold them back from pursuing other job opportunities or leaving a job to escape harassment.
That’s why Elizabeth introduced a plan: a set of executive actions to implement on day one of the Warren administration to boost wages for women of color, open up new pathways to the leadership positions they deserve, and strengthen and target enforcement against systemic discrimination.
Click here to read more about Elizabeth’s plan for valuing the work of women of color.
The rich and powerful run Washington. And what’s more: After making a killing from the economy they’ve rigged, they don't pay taxes on that accumulated wealth.
We need to fundamentally transform our tax code so that we tax the wealth of the ultra-rich, not just their income. The Ultra-Millionaire (or two cent) Tax asks the very wealthiest people in the country to pitch in a little more so that we can fund crucial investments that provide opportunities for millions of Americans.
Here’s how it works: A family with a net worth of more than $50 million – roughly the wealthiest 75,000 households – would pay a 2% (or 2 cents) tax on every dollar of their net worth above $50 million and another 4% (or 4 cents) tax for every dollar above $1 billion.
That’s it – simple.
Wealth in this country is so lopsided that this small new tax on the tiny sliver of ultra-rich families will bring in $3.75 trillion over the next ten years. Think about how that money could be used. We can invest it in:
Universal child care and Pre-K, including raising wages for child care workers and preschool teachers,
A historic $800 billion investment in our public schools;
Free two-year or four-year public college and technical school,
Canceling student loan debt for more than 95% of the 45 million people who have it,
A $50 billion fund for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions, including AANAPISIs and Tribal Colleges and Universities, and
Paying for part of Medicare for All, which would mark one of the greatest federal expansions of middle class wealth in history.
This is an investment in the future of our society.
Click here to read more about the Ultra-Millionaire Tax.