Social Justice: Race
Here, you can find Hillary's comprehensive views on and plans for fomenting racial justice, reforming criminal justice and immigration, and combatting Islamophobia. High schoolers know that under Hillary's administration, bigotry and inequity won't be tolerated. All content is directly copied from hillaryclinton.com/issues, The Briefing, and CNN.
As president, Hillary Clinton will fight to break down all the barriers that hold Americans back and build ladders of opportunity for all people—so that every child in America can live up to his or her God-given potential.
As president, Hillary will:
- Reform our broken criminal justice system by reforming sentencing laws and policies, ending racial profiling by law enforcement, strengthening the bonds of trust between communities and police, and more. Read more here.
- Ensure equal treatment for citizens in Puerto Rico. Hillary is committed to making sure Puerto Ricans have a voice and are treated equally. She believes that Puerto Ricans must be treated equally by Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs that benefit families. She will also work with the people of Puerto Rico and with advocates from all sides to answer the fundamental question of their political status.
- Revitalize the economy in communities that have been left out and left behind through a “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda” that includes $125 billion in targeted investments to create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect housing to opportunity. Read more here.
- End violence against the transgender community—particularly women of color. Read more here.
- Close the education achievement gap by making sure every child has a world-class education from birth through college. Hillary will double America’s investment in Early Head Start, ensure that every 4-year-old in America has access to high-quality preschool, drive student achievement in K-12 schools, make college affordable, and relieve the crushing burden of student debt.
- Fight against environmental injustice. Clean air and clean water are basic human rights. But too many children in low-income housing are exposed to lead. African American children are twice as likely to suffer from asthma as white children. Half of our nation’s Latino population lives in areas where the air quality does not meet the EPA’s health standards—and climate change will put vulnerable populations at even greater risk. As president, Hillary will work to reduce air pollution, invest in the removal of toxins like lead, develop greener and more resilient infrastructure, tackle energy poverty, and boost efforts to clean up highly polluted toxic sites.
- End the epidemic of gun violence in our communities. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for young African American men—more than the next nine leading causes combined. We must do more to crack down on gun stores that flood our communities with illegal guns and deprive our children of their futures. Read more here.
- Protect immigrants’ rights and keep families together by fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, including a full and equal pathway to citizenship and an end to family detention and private immigrant detention centers. Read more here.
- Protect the right to vote by fighting to repair the Voting Rights Act and implementing universal, automatic voter registration so that every American will be registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they opt out. Read more here.
Hillary has been fighting for racial justice her entire career:
- As a U.S. senator, she worked to improve pre-K programs and provide parenting help for at-risk families and pushed to expand CHIP to cover more kids. She co-sponsored legislation to end racial profiling and implement sentencing reforms to address crack-cocaine disparities, and she fought to restore voting rights and expand programs that help people re-enter society after they have served time. She introduced legislation to protect voting rights; supported increased funding for HIV and AIDS programs, spotlighting the disproportionate impact on African American women; and worked with then-Senator Obama to fight against lead poisoning.
- As first lady, she continued her advocacy for children and families, helping to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which now covers more than 8 million kids, helping reform the foster care and adoption system, and advocating for the expansion of Medicaid to cover foster kids until they are 21. She pushed for the expansion of Head Start and advocated for quality child care and equal pay for women to help break down barriers for working parents.
- In Arkansas, she started a legal aid clinic to ensure that low-income people had access to real legal representation; she helped start a program to help low-income parents prepare their kids for school success, which is now in more than 20 states; and she helped to found the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, which helped nearly 40,000 single parents with their education.
- As a young lawyer working for the Children’s Defense Fund, Hillary went to South Carolina to work to stop the incarceration of teenagers in adult prisons, and she investigated school segregation in Alabama at so-called “private academies.”
Criminal Justice Reform
The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but almost 25 percent of the total prison population. A significant percentage of the more than 2 million Americans incarcerated today are nonviolent offenders. African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men found guilty of the same offenses.
To successfully reform our criminal justice system, we must work to strengthen the bonds of trust between our communities and our police, end the era of mass incarceration, and ensure a successful transition of individuals from prison to home. As president, Hillary will focus on a few key areas.
Strengthen bonds of trust between communities and police
Effective policing and constitutional policing go hand in hand. We can—and must—do both by:
- Bringing law enforcement and communities together to develop national guidelines on the use of force by police officers, making it clear when deadly force is warranted and when it isn’t and emphasizing proven methods for de-escalating situations.
- Acknowledging that implicit bias still exists across society—even in the best police departments—and tackle it together. Hillary will commit $1 billion in her first budget to find and fund the best training programs, support new research, and make this a national policing priority.
- Making new investments to support state-of-the-art law enforcement training programs at every level on issues like use of force, de-escalation, community policing and problem solving, alternatives to incarceration, crisis intervention, and officer safety and wellness.
- Supporting legislation to end racial profiling by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
- Strengthening the U.S. Department of Justice’s pattern or practice unit—the unit that monitors civil rights violations—by increasing the department’s resources, working to secure subpoena power, and improving data collection for pattern or practice investigations.
- Doubling funding for the U.S. Department of Justice “Collaborative Reform” program. Across the country, there are police departments deploying creative and effective strategies that we can learn from and build on. Hillary will provide assistance and training to agencies that apply these best practices
- Providing federal matching funds to make body cameras available to every police department in America.
- Promoting oversight and accountability in use of controlled equipment, including by limiting the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement from the federal government, eliminating the one-year use requirement, and requiring transparency from agencies that purchase equipment using federal funds.
- Collecting and reporting national data to inform policing strategies and provide greater transparency and accountability when it comes to crime, officer-involved shootings, and deaths in custody.
End the era of mass incarceration
Today in America, more than one out of every 100 adults is behind bars. This mass incarceration epidemic has an explicit racial bias, as one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. A significant number of those incarcerated are held for low-level, nonviolent offenses. We must end the era of mass incarceration by:
- Reforming mandatory minimum sentencing. Excessive federal mandatory minimum sentences keep nonviolent drug offenders in prison for too long—and have increased racial inequality in our criminal justice system. Hillary will reform this system by:
- Cutting mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in half.
- Allowing current nonviolent prisoners to seek fairer sentences.
- Eliminating the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine so that equal amounts of crack and powder cocaine carry equal sentences, and applying this change retroactively.
- Reforming the “strike” system, so that nonviolent drug offenses no longer count as a “strike,” reducing the mandatory penalty for second- and third-strike offenses.
- Focusing federal enforcement resources on violent crime, not simple marijuana possession. Marijuana arrests, including for simple possession, account for a large number of drug arrests. Significant racial disparities exist in marijuana enforcement—black men are significantly more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts, despite the fact that their usage rates are similar. Hillary will allow states that have enacted marijuana laws to act as laboratories of democracy and reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance.
- Prioritizing treatment and rehabilitation—rather than incarceration—for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. More than half of prison and jail inmates suffer from a mental health problem. Up to 65 percent of the correctional population meets the medical criteria for a substance use disorder. Hillary will ensure law enforcement is properly trained for crisis intervention and referral to treatment as appropriate, direct the attorney general to urge federal prosecutors to seek treatment over incarceration for low-level, nonviolent drug crimes. Read more about Hillary’s plan to end the substance abuse epidemic here.
- Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. Hillary will work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by providing $2 billion in support to schools to reform overly punitive disciplinary policies, calling on states to reform school disturbance laws, and encouraging states to use federal education funding to implement social and emotional support interventions. Read the fact sheet here.
- Ending the privatization of prisons. Hillary believes we should move away from contracting out this core responsibility of the federal government to private corporations. We must not create private industry incentives that may contribute—or have the appearance of contributing—to over-incarceration. The campaign does not accept contributions from federally registered lobbyists or PACs for private prison companies and will donate any such direct contributions to charity.
Promote successful re-entry by formerly incarcerated individuals
This year, the number of people released from state or federal prison will reach approximately 600,000. For the sake of everyone given a second chance—as well as the health and safety of the communities to which they return—the pathway to re-entry should offer a fair opportunity for success. Hillary will work to remove barriers and create pathways to employment, housing, health care, education, and civic participation, including:
- Taking executive action to “ban the box” for federal employers and contractors, so that applicants have an opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications before being asked about their criminal records.
- Investing $5 billion in re-entry job programs for formerly incarcerated individuals so that individuals can have a fair shot at getting back on their feet and becoming productive, contributing members of society.
- Supporting legislation to restore voting rights to individuals who have served their sentences.
Hillary has been committed to the immigrant rights community throughout her career. As president, she will work to to fix our broken immigration system and stay true to our fundamental American values: that we are a nation of immigrants, and we treat those who come to our country with dignity and respect—and that we embrace immigrants, not denigrate them.
As president, Hillary will:
- Introduce comprehensive immigration reform. Hillary will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship within her first 100 days in office. It will treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.
- End the three- and 10-year bars. The three- and 10-year bars force families—especially those whose members have different citizenship or immigration statuses—into a heartbreaking dilemma: remain in the shadows, or pursue a green card by leaving the country and loved ones behind.
- Defend President Obama’s executive actions—known as DACA and DAPA—against partisan attacks. The Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision on DAPA was a heartbreaking reminder of how high the stakes are in this election. Hillary believes DAPA is squarely within the president’s authority and won’t stop fighting until we see it through. The estimated 5 million people eligible for DAPA—including DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents—should be protected under the executive actions.
- Do everything possible under the law to protect families. If Congress keeps failing to act on comprehensive immigration reform, Hillary will enact a simple system for those with sympathetic cases—such as parents of DREAMers, those with a history of service and contribution to their communities, or those who experience extreme labor violations—to make their case and be eligible for deferred action.
- Enforce immigration laws humanely. Immigration enforcement must be humane, targeted, and effective. Hillary will focus resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and ensure refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories.
- End family detention and close private immigration detention centers. Hillary will end family detention for parents and children who arrive at our border in desperate situations and close private immigrant detention centers.
- Expand access to affordable health care to all families. We should let families—regardless of immigration status—buy into the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Families who want to purchase health insurance should be able to do so.
- Promote naturalization. Hillary will work to expand fee waivers to alleviate naturalization costs, increase access to language programs to encourage English proficiency, and increase outreach and education to help more people navigate the process.
During a January CNN Town Hall in Iowa, Clinton spoke on Trump's Islamophobia:
" ...One of the most distressing aspects of this campaign has been the language of Republican candidates, particularly their frontrunner, that insults, demeans, denigrates different people. He has cast a wide net. He started with Mexicans. He's currently on Muslims. But I found it particularly harmful the way he has talked about Muslims, American Muslims and Muslims around the world. And I have called him out continuously about that.
It's not only shameful and contrary to our values to say that people of a certain religion should never come to this country, or to claim that there are no real people of the Muslim faith who share our values, and to have the kind of dismissive and insulting approach. It's not only shameful and offensive, which it is. I think it's dangerous. And it's dangerous in several ways.
It's dangerous because American Muslims deserve better. And now their children and they are the target of Islamophobia, of threats. I've met a number of parents who said their children are afraid to go to school because they are worried about how they will be treated.
And we cannot tolerate this. And we must stand up and say every person in this country deserves to be treated with respect. And we must stand up against the bullying.
But there's another element to this that I want to mention. I was recently in Minneapolis where I met with a big group of Somali-Americans. And I sat down and talked with them, and they shared some of the very same concerns you just did. But they are also on the front lines of trying to protect their children from radicalization. They are in the front lines in Minneapolis of working with law enforcement to make sure that what they see and hear they report in case there are any problems.
We have to protect ourselves in America in a unified way. That means making sure our Muslim friends and neighbors are part of us. They are with us. They are on the front lines of defending themselves, their families, their children and all the rest of us. And the same is true with Muslims around the world. We need a coalition that includes Muslim nations to defeat ISIS. And it's pretty hard to figure out how you're going to make a coalition with the very nations you need if you spend your time insulting their religion.
So we need to stand up... and point out how wrong this is."
Hillary Clinton has laid out a serious, comprehensive strategy for defeating ISIS and keeping us safe. Republicans have opted instead for bluster and bigotry:
- Donald Trump has proposed a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States and expressed support for implementing a national database for Muslims in the US.
- Ted Cruz introduced legislation that would bar refugees from entering the United States from countries “with active terrorist presence.” He wants to conduct a new review of refugees already in the country. He’s called President Obama “an apologist for radical Islamic terrorists.” And pressed on Trump’s proposal, he said, "I do not believe the world needs my voice added to that chorus of critics.”
- Marco Rubio invoked Nazis to attack Hillary Clinton for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” and asked, “Where is there widespread evidence that we have a problem in America with discrimination against Muslims?”
- Jeb Bush called for a religious test on Syrian refugees, explaining, “You’re a Christian – I mean, you can prove you’re a Christian,” he said. “You can’t prove it, then, you know, you err on the side of caution.”
- Ben Carson said in an analogy about Syrian refugees, "If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog.” He also said, "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that."
- Chris Christie on Syrian refugees: “I don't think orphans under five…should be admitted into the United States at this point.”
- John Kasich previously “proposed creating a new government agency to push Judeo-Christian values around the world.”
(Language copied from this Briefing Fact Check on 1/14)