The elections passed and Joe Biden was the winner. Although the Democratic candidate won more than 60% of the Hispanic votes, many of us think about what this new Democratic presidency will bring us since in the near past they always took our votes and have not benefited us in the way they promised.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the future of this country’s success depends on Hispanics having the opportunities and tools they need to succeed,” Biden said at a recent rally in California. And with nearly 60 million Hispanics living in the United States according to a Census Bureau estimate, Biden speaks to about 18% of the total US population.
President elect Biden’s commitment to empowering Latinos in the United States is not new. But let’s see how the recent Democratic governments have benefited Latinos.
The Obama-Biden administration’s economic recovery programs, for example, helped reduce Latino unemployment to 5.9% in 2016, down from a peak of nearly 13% in 2009. And after the Health Care Act was enacted to Low Price (ACA) in 2010, Latinos benefited.
By 2019, more than 4 million Hispanics had access to critical health care coverage according to the ACA guidelines. Before this legislation, Hispanics had the highest initial rates of uninsured in the country.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Biden has vowed to work to ensure equal opportunity for Latino families across the country with a plan that includes, among other things, expanding access to quality, affordable health care.
Biden promises to leverage the ACA to give everyone an affordable public option, while allowing people to choose whether to use that public option or keep their coverage private.
The plan will also lower premiums and automatically cover an estimated 5 million low-income Americans who would be eligible for Medicaid were state governments’ refuse to expand it.
The president-elect also indicated during his campaign that he will double funding for community health centers that often serve undocumented immigrants and restore funding for Planned Parenthood, which treats nearly 750,000 Latino patients across the country.
Biden also promised something that has been promised for decades, and that is to ensure that Latinos have access to the same opportunities to join the middle class.
To do this, he says that he will begin by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, restoring overtime pay to millions of workers and eliminating non-compete clauses and other requirements that make it difficult to transition to better-paid jobs.
He also promised that he will continue to fight for the rights of workers to form unions. Another promise from the president-elect was to expand access to quality, affordable education and training beyond high school. While this promise is one of the most difficult to keep as many call it a progressive idea (something Bernie Sanders has been preaching for decades, for example) Biden promised to provide two years of debt-free community college and cut the limit in half of student loan payments to only 5% of discretionary income above $ 25,000. The president-elect also promised to invest $ 70 billion in Hispanic institutions and other institutions that serve minorities. Under this plan, DACA recipients will qualify for these benefits for the first time.
But his promises don’t end there, Biden also promised to protect Hispanic and black communities from environmental impacts by investing $ 1.7 billion in building a clean energy economy, creating 10 million jobs and ensuring that Communities hardest hit by environmental injustice benefit first.
He also assured that he will join the Paris Climate Agreement and seek partnerships with other countries around the world to increase their climate goals. Another of his ways to combat climate change are the measures he will take against “fossil fuel companies and other polluters who put profits before people, knowingly damaging our environment and poisoning our air, land and water in our communities, or they hide information about possible environmental health risks”, as he indicated in one of his pre-election speeches.
In short, there are many promises, we will see if some of them or perhaps all of them come true. From a real point of view, it is very difficult for all this to be achieved in just 4 years, but Hispanics are used to waiting and, above all, to believing, so let’s let the time pass and see what happens. In four years we will vote again and we will use our vote once more to judge.