After a contentious U.S. presidential election, voters sent a message that they no longer welcomed President Donald Trump in the White House. With an estimated 71% of Latina support, former Vice President Joe Biden will become the country’s 46th president. His running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, will become the first woman, Black woman, and Indian-American woman to serve as vice president of the United States. Despite the spread of conspiracy theories, voter suppression, and decades of being ignored, Latino voters proved to be the deciding factor including turning Arizona blue.
“Trump’s presidency has been defined by racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and lawlessness, and Latinas have borne the brunt of the pain,” Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy told Luz Collective. “From beginning his campaign by demeaning Mexicans to his disastrous handling of the Covid-19 crisis, which disproportionately affected Latinas and our families, the last four years under Trump have wreaked havoc on our communities.”
Biden will have a lot of work to do to repair the harm that the Trump administration has caused across the country, including in the Latinx community. Recently, Latinas marked Latina Equal Pay Day on October 29, bringing visibility to statistics that show Latinas, on average, earn just 55 cents to every dollar a white man earns. Electing Biden, who has promised to help close the gender pay gap for Latinas, and all women, is just one step toward better economic opportunities for Latinas. Holding him and Congress accountable to the promises made is the second step. Here are three ways that the Biden administration could financially uplift Latinas:
Passage of the HEROES Act Bill
Latinxs are disproportionately affected by job loss and housing insecurity in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes many Latina business owners who have been challenged in accessing programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. An UnidosUS report found that “the threat of depleting one’s savings in order to avoid eviction is exacerbated by barriers that have kept some workers from accessing unemployment insurance or governmental economic stimulus.” On the campaign trail, Biden supported the HEROEs Act, which the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed more than three months ago. If progressed by the Senate, where it has been stalled, Biden would surely sign the bill into law. The stimulus package would allocate $175 billion in rent and mortgage assistance as well as provide resources to navigate the PPP programs and housing counseling services – all of which could positively impact Latinas, including some undocumented immigrants, who weren’t eligibe to receive aid through the CARES Act back in March.
Protection for Latina Domestic Workers
The Biden administration plans to enact legislation that would mirror the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, a handful of policies that would extend federal labor protections to domestic workers. Domestic workers, many of them Latinas, are vulnerable to wage theft and sexual assault. The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights would include guaranteed paid time off and other protections that stand to benefit Latinas.
Overtime Payment and Minimum Wage
With the Biden administration also comes an opportunity to address the economic concerns of Latinas who earn low wages. Specifically, Biden promises to undo Trump’s overtime payment policies, which currently keeps 1.3 million Latinx workers from earning the overtime pay they deserve. Additionally, Biden promises to increase the minimum wage, which would help millions of Latinas who are overrepresented in low-wage jobs.
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