Stronger Together: Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Break Down Barriers for AAPIs

You can also read the plan on HillaryClinton.com.

Hillary Clinton believes that we are stronger together and that’s why she is fighting for an America where all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) can succeed, regardless of their background or where they came from.

The AAPI community is standing with Hillary because they know she’s had a career-long record of defending their best interests: from advocating for the Children’s Health Insurance Program while she was First Lady to fighting for comprehensive immigration reform as a U.S. Senator to making the Asia-Pacific region a top foreign policy priority as Secretary of State.

As President, Hillary has plans to break down barriers and improve the lives of AAPIs by:

  1. Raising incomes and creating good-paying jobs
  2. Providing quality and affordable education
  3. Improving health and expanding access to health care
  4. Protecting Social Security and Medicare
  5. Keeping us safe here at home
  6. Fighting for comprehensive immigration reform
  7. Breaking down barriers and bringing AAPIs together

Raising Incomes and Creating Good-Paying Jobs

Hillary believes that America is stronger together when we grow together. As President, she will build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. To promote equitable economic growth, she will:

  • Fight for an economy that works for all AAPIs, not just those at the top. As President, Hillary will give AAPI working families a raise, and tax relief that helps them manage rising costs.  She will create good-paying jobs and raise incomes by investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to strengthen and grow our economy.  And she’ll also close corporate tax loopholes and make the most fortunate pay their fair share.
  • Help AAPI small businesses thrive. Hillary Clinton knows that small businesses are the engine of the American economy – creating nearly two-thirds of new American jobs, fueling U.S. innovation, and offering crucial ladders to prosperity for hard-working entrepreneurs and families. The majority of Asian-owned businesses are small businesses and they form one of the strongest segments of America’s economy: between 2007 and 2012, Asian-owned businesses grew by 24 percent (from 1.5 million to 1.9 million), ten times more than the national growth rate. In the same period, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander-owned businesses grew by 45% (from 37,687 to 54,749), twenty times the national growth rate of 2%.  While small businesses have helped AAPI families get ahead, many segments of the AAPI community continue to face barriers in securing the resources and capital they need to grow. Hillary will fight to level the playing field for AAPI small business owners by cutting red tape, expanding access to capital, providing tax relief, expanding access to new markets and fighting discrimination in the lending market.
  • Close the gender wage gap. On average, AAPI women earn 86 cents for every dollar earned by a white male, and the gap is even larger for specific segments of the AAPI community. For example, Vietnamese-American women are paid only 61 cents for every dollar earned by a white male, and Bhutanese American women only 38 cents. Hillary will fight to break down barriers that AAPI women face in achieving pay equity and ensure that all women are on equal footing with men.
  • Raise the minimum wage. Hillary will also push to raise the minimum wage, provide incentives for companies to share profits with their employees, and boost apprenticeships to help more people move into the workforce.  Because women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers, a higher minimum wage will also help close the gender pay gap, lift millions of women out of poverty, and have a ripple effect across our economy. When women make more, families benefit.
  • Invest in technology and innovation. Hillary’s plan will leverage technology to create good-paying jobs on Main Street through new commitments in computer science and STEM education, will deliver high-speed broadband, and will ensure America remains the global leader in technology by promoting more high-tech exports and ensuring the free flow of data.  She will also increase capital for growth-oriented small businesses and start-ups, with a focus on minority, women, and young entrepreneurs.  For innovators who decide to launch either new businesses that operate in distressed communities, or social enterprises that provide measurable social impact and benefit, Hillary will offer forgiveness of up to $17,500 of their student loans.

In contrast, Donald Trump has shown time and again that he cannot be trusted to secure the basic economic dignity of Americans. He wants to eliminate the federal minimum wage and said that paid family leave hurts our economy.  He has often stiffed small businesses—leading some to go out of business—with his deceptive and reckless business practices. He and the Republican Party would provide trillions in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations at the expense of working families, seniors, and the health of our economy.

Providing Quality and Affordable Education

The public school system is a core pillar of America’s democracy and a driver of social and economic mobility for AAPI families. Hillary believes that every child deserves a world-class education, regardless of his or her ZIP code. As President, Hillary will fight hard to:

  • Make college debt-free, and help AAPI graduates with their current debt. About half of Asian Americans graduate from college with debt, with the average indebted 4-year college graduate owing more than $20,000 in student loan debt. As announced in her New College Compact, Hillary will enable all borrowers to refinance their loans and to simply and easily enroll in income-based repayment so they never have to pay more than they can afford. She also recently announced she will offer a 3-month moratorium on federal loan payments so borrowers can avail themselves of the best options for them, and she has proposed a new measure to eliminate college tuition for working families.
  • Invest in Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs).  Nearly half of all AAPI undergraduates are enrolled in community college. High levels of educational attainment and outcomes among AAPIs mask striking differences among AAPI subgroups, where certain communities are falling behind. For example, Southeast Asians as a group have low levels of educational attainment: less than 15 percent of Cambodians, Hmong, and Laotians have earned a college degree. Hillary will strengthen AANAPISIs and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) by making historic new investments to keep costs down, provide a quality education, and ensure dedicated support to improve student outcomes and completion rates at these schools.
  • Provide every child with a world-class education. Hillary believes that every child, in every neighborhood, should be guaranteed a high-quality education. That is why Hillary will ensure all four-year-olds have access to preschool, launch a national campaign to modernize and elevate the teaching profession, and provide every student in America an opportunity to learn computer science.

Donald Trump believes America invests too much in educating our children and wants to “largely eliminate” the Department of Education, which would have a significant impact on AAPI and other minority students. His education expertise consists mainly of the now defunct Trump University. Trump’s for-profit school has been accused of both fraud and high-pressure sales tactics to scam vulnerable Americans out of their savings.

Improving Health and Expanding Access to Health Care

Hillary Clinton has spent her career ferociously fighting to pass comprehensive health care reform, working at every level to expand access to quality, affordable care. She will continue to work hard to build on these foundations:

  • Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act. Prior to the ACA, one in every six AAPIs did not have access to health insurance, surpassing the average national uninsured rate. Twenty million uninsured adults have gained health insurance coverage under the ACA, including more than 2 million AAPIs. Hillary will stand up to Republican attempts to roll back the law and will ensure that it reaches more members of the AAPI community by allowing all families to purchase health insurance through an ACA exchange, no matter their immigration status.
  • Make premiums more affordable and lessen out-of-pocket expenses. Because many AAPIs are self-employed or run small businesses, cost is often the main reason for non-coverage.  For example, 14% of AAPIs age 50 and above, and 20% of those age 50 to 64, lack health insurance.  Hillary believes that we must expand coverage for families and provide relief from high costs; that is why she will provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 per family to offset excessive out-of-pocket costs. She will enhance the premium tax credits now available so that families pay less—and not more than 8.5 percent of their income. Finally, she will fix the “family glitch” so that families can access coverage when their employer’s family plan premium is too expensive.
  • Address the lack of access to primary health care, dental care, mental health care and affordable prescription drugs. One critical component of expanding access to primary care in an effort to establish universal health coverage is the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) system. Today, 25 million people in the United States get their care from these community health centers each year, and more than 60% are people of color. Hillary will significantly expand that coverage so that every American, regardless of where they live or what their background is, has good quality primary health care available to them at a cost they can afford.

By contrast, Donald Trump wants to repeal the ACA, leaving over 18 million Americans without coverage. Low-income families who became eligible for Medicaid under the ACA expansion would lose their newly gained benefits. As far as what his healthcare plan would consist of after he repeals the ACA? No one knows other than that it’s going to be “something great.”

Protecting Social Security and Medicare

Throughout her career, Hillary has spoken out for seniors and stood up for Medicare and Social Security, and she is committed to preserving, protecting and strengthening these lifelines for today’s seniors and for future generations. Within the AAPI community, 6% of those age 65 and older are uninsured versus 1% of Americans overall over 65. All American seniors have paid into these programs for a lifetime, and they’ve earned those benefits when they retire.

  • Defend and strengthen Social Security so that AAPI families can retire with dignity. Social Security has provided Americans with financial security over the past 80 years. It needs to be protected—not ripped away. Yet Republicans are threatening to dismantle the program. The stakes are high; especially because AAPIs would be greatly harmed by Social Security cuts. As president, Hillary will fight to defend Social Securityand expand benefits for widows and those who took time out of the paid workforce to care for a child or sick family member.
  • Preserve Social Security for decades to come by asking the wealthiest to contribute more. Social Security must continue to guarantee dignity in retirement for future generations. Hillary understands that there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap, and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.
  • Drive down drug costs for seniors and other Americans. A typical senior spends over $500 per year out of his or her own pocket on prescription drugs. Hillary’s plan will drive down drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices with drug and biologic manufacturers; demanding higher rebates; and allowing Americans to import lower-cost drugs from foreign countries with approved safety standards.

Donald Trump has referred to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme and has called for privatizing it as well as increasing the retirement age. And during this campaign, he has offered ideas to strengthen the program.

Keeping Us Safe Here at Home

Hillary knows America’s network of allies is part of what makes us exceptional. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked to make the world safer and to restore America’s leadership in the world. As president, Hillary will also advocate for commonsense approaches to reduce gun violence and ensure our safety here at home.

  • Address gun violence. While gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. More than 33,000 Americans are killed by guns each year: that’s nearly 100 Americans a day. This is completely unacceptable. It is a rebuke to this nation we love. That’s why Hillary will take common sense steps to reduce gun violence, including comprehensive background checks, cracking down on illegal gun traffickers, holding dealers and manufacturers accountable when they endanger Americans, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers.
  • Keep our homeland secure. Hillary has laid out a comprehensive plan to harden our defenses at home. Her plan includes supporting first responders, law enforcement, and intelligence officers with the right tools, resources, intelligence, and training to prevent attacks before they happen; launching an intelligence surge to get security officials the tools they need to prevent attacks; and supporting law enforcement to build trustful and strong relationships with American Muslim communities. We need every American community invested in this fight, not fearful and sitting on the sidelines. As president, she’ll keep America safe and strong, while upholding our core values and principles.
  • Defeat ISIS. The threat we face from terrorism is real, urgent, and knows no boundaries. It is not enough to contain ISIS and the threat of radical jihadism, we have to defeat it.Hillary has a comprehensive strategy to defeat them on the battlefield by intensifying the coalition air campaign against ISIS fighters, leaders, and infrastructure; stepping up support for local Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground and coalition efforts to protect civilians; and pursuing a diplomatic strategy aimed at resolving Syria’s civil war and Iraq’s sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias—both of which have contributed to the rise of ISIS. She would also work with our allies to dismantle the global terror network that supplies radical jihadists with money, weapons, and fighters.
  • Strengthen alliances. As Secretary of State, Hillary made the Asia-Pacific region a top priority of U.S. foreign policy. Hillary traveled to Asia as her first overseas trip as Secretary to begin bolstering strategic engagement between the two regions. As President, Hillary will strengthen the essential partnerships that are a unique source of America’s strength.

Donald Trump has a different approach. There has never been a major party candidate less qualified or less fit for the office of President of the United States or to be Commander-in-Chief than Donald Trump. He has promoted other countries obtaining nuclear weapons. He has called our military “a disaster,” and he thinks our military should engage in war crimes. He has no strategy for dealing with key threats facing our country, including ISIS. He wants to abandon our allies and empower our adversaries, and has even praised anti-American dictators like Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin. He wants to build walls and keep people from entering the country based on their religion and national origin. His dangerous, incoherent policies would undo the progress we have made.

Fighting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

America is a country of immigrants. Nearly two-thirds of the AAPI community is foreign-born. Hillary has made clear that we cannot wait any longer for immigration reform. She understands the importance of welcoming all people and breaking down the barriers that hold us apart, so she will:

  • Introduce comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days. Asian immigrants make up 11% of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, the vast majority of whom have lived in the U.S. for over a decade. Instead of breaking up law-abiding immigrant families who have enriched America, Hillary will offer them a path to full and equal citizenship. Further, Hillary understands that applicants from the Asia-Pacific region make up about 40% of the family visa backlog. She will address the backlog for those waiting for visas, which will help to reunite immigrant families.
  • Attract and retain top talent from around the world. Our immigration system is plagued by visa backlogs and other barriers that prevent high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs—including from countries in Asia—from coming to, staying in, and creating jobs in America. Far too often, we require talented persons from other countries who are trained in U.S. universities to return home, rather than stay in here and continue to contribute to our economy. As part of a comprehensive immigration solution, Hillary would “staple” a green card to STEM master’s degrees and PhDs from accredited institutions—enabling international students who complete degrees in these fields to move to green card status.
  • Keep immigrant families together. While the Supreme Court’s deadlock ruling in Texas v. U.S. was unacceptable, it was a procedural decision and casts no doubt on the fact that DAPA and DACA are entirely legal. As president, Hillary will continue to defend the programs, do everything possible under the law to go further to protect families, and introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship within her first 100 days.
  • Promote naturalization. Hillary believes we should do more to help AAPI immigrants who are eligible for citizenship to take that last step. She will expand fee-waivers and increase access to language and outreach programs.
  • Create a national Office of Immigrant Affairs.  Hillary will create the first ever federal Office of Immigrant Affairs to ensure there is a dedicated place in the White House where integration policies and services for immigrants and refugees are managed.

We are a nation of immigrants, yet Donald Trump has promised to create a “deportation force” to round up and deport more than 11 million immigrants. Trump stated that our nation’s immigration policies make us a “dumping ground for the rest of the world.” Trump has also called for a “shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” This could adversely affect the more than 3 million Asian Americans who identify as Muslim – and tarnish America’s reputation as an open and tolerant country.

Breaking Down Barriers and Bringing AAPIs Together

Hillary knows that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. We need to bring communities together to address both issues. As president, Hillary will fight to break down all the barriers that hold AAPIs back and build ladders of opportunity for all people by committing to:

  • Reauthorize the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Initially created by President Bill Clinton in 1999 under Executive Order 13125, the White House Initiative on AAPIs was created to improve the quality of life of AAPIs through increased participation in federal programs where they may be underserved. Hillary will reauthorize the White House Initiative on AAPIs and enhance its regional networks in an effort to better connect local AAPI communities to federal services.  Hillary will also continue the Initiative’s work increasing language access and advancing data disaggregation.  Recognizing subgroup disparities in areas such as health, education, immigration, civil rights, and employment allows the federal government to better target resources and develop effective solutions.
  • End racial profiling. Racial profiling is demeaning and ineffective, and it erodes trust between law enforcement officers and the AAPI residents they serve. Hillary will work to end racial profiling that targets individuals, based solely on race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin, which is un-American and counterproductive.
  • Combat discrimination and bullying in school. Too many AAPI students still face discrimination and bullying at school because of who they are, where they come from, or how they dress. Hillary will fight to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act to prohibit bullying and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion in federally funded school districts.
  • Protect voting rights and expand access to the ballot box. Despite the rapid growth of the AAPI community, their voting participation rates are comparatively lower than other communities. Often times, this is due to language barriers, lack of access to voter resources, or voter suppression efforts. Hillary believes we should be making it easier to vote, not harder. That is why she will fight to repair the Voting Rights Act, set new standards for early in-person voting, implement universal automatic voter registration, and strongly enforce requirements that certain jurisdictions provide bilingual poll workers and ballot translation for language minority groups.
  • Increase AAPI representation in government. Hillary believes that our federal government should reflect the rich diversity of our country and represent a wide range of life experiences, and that the AAPI community should have a voice throughout our government. As Secretary of State, Hillary had the privilege of working with and promoting a number of AAPI employees who made the department and the conduct of our foreign policy stronger. As President, she will build on President Obama’s progress of appointing AAPIs throughout the executive branch. From special assistants to cabinet members, AAPIs will play a key role in helping to shape her administration and its policy priorities.

The choice in this election is clear for the AAPI community: we can either come together to support Hillary Clinton, who has been fighting for us throughout her entire career, or we can let Donald Trump tear us apart with his divisive rhetoric and dangerous ideas.

Donald Trump has shown that he is temperamentally unfit and unqualified to be president. He would do serious harm to our security and our economy.

At a time when Americans are looking for a president who can bring people together, Donald Trump has done nothing but divide us with hateful rhetoric and bigoted policy proposals while bullying and demeaning anyone who disagrees with him.