“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now,” said President Joe Biden in his inauguration speech. “Once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some four hundred years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”
The election of Joe Biden brings with it proposed policies that may have a profound impact on the Hispanic – Latino community.
Hispanic – Latino voters were key in helping President Biden win the white house. During the campaign, Biden made promises to invest in healthcare, employment, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants…among others.
“These crises have ripped the blinders off the systemic racism in America,” Biden said of COVID-19.
COVID rates are disproportionately high for the nearly 140,000 Hispanics – Latinos across New England. Despite the high rates of illness, the rate of vaccination, in general, tends to be lower in these same communities.
Xavier Becerra nominated to be health and human services secretary is tasked to fulfill Biden’s pledge to distribute 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days.
Becerra outlined plans to address health care disparities among Latinos and other underserved communities. “I will build on our progress and ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care — through this pandemic and beyond,” said Becerra.
“The Black and Latino unemployment gap remains too large,” said Biden. “And communities of color are left to ask whether they will ever be able to break the cycle where in good times they lag, in bad times they are hit first and the hardest, and in recovery, they take the longest to bounce back.”
Hispanics – Latinos make up nearly a quarter of all workers in leisure and hospitality, nationwide and an even greater proportion of the workforce in that sector in Connecticut — 32 percent, reports CTMirror.
In JOE BIDEN AND THE LATINO COMMUNITY, the Biden campaign outlines its commitment to the Hispanic -Latino community. Between 2010 and 2017, despite making less than one-fifth of the overall U.S. population, Hispanics – Latinos accounted for more than 80% of the growth in labor-force participation. But, many Latinos are stuck in low wage jobs and have lower rates of homeownership and wealth in comparison to non-Hispanic whites.
Biden’s proposals include boosting lending to entrepreneurs of color; creating and restoring parks and infrastructure in Black, Latino and indigenous communities; and empowering the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to more forcefully root out discrimination in the workplace, reports USA Today.
Biden promises to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, restoring overtime pay to millions of workers, and getting rid of non-compete clauses and unnecessary licensing requirements that make it harder to move to higher-paying jobs.
One of the Biden administration’s first priorities this year will be tackling immigration reform. According to the American Immigration Council, one in six Massachusetts residents is an immigrant, while one in seven residents is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.
“It’s past time to overhaul our broken immigration system”, said Biden. As Vice President, Biden backed reforms that would have established a path to citizenship. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created during the Obama-Biden Administration to give DREAMers, (unauthorized immigrants who entered the United States as minors) a chance to pursue their lives without fear of deportation.
Alejandro Mayorkas, President Biden‘s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a track record of overseeing and implementing pro-immigrant policies. He is expected to play an integral role in Biden’s plans to reverse many of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, restricting avenues for people to immigrate to and stay in the U.S.
“We can secure our borders in a way that is humane and establishes a rational set of rules for aspiring immigrants”, said Biden.