Hillary Clinton recently visited our state to talk about immigration and call for comprehensive reform that includes a path to “full and equal” citizenship. “We cannot,” she said, “settle for proposals that provide hard-working people with merely a second-class status.” She pledged that if she is faced with congressional inaction, she would go further than President Obama in using her executive powers to protect immigrant families.
These are welcome words. Our broken immigration system tears families apart and pushes those that remain into the shadows. With more than 11 million immigrants living and working in America, every serious presidential candidate should support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.
While Clinton should be praised for her bold commitments on immigration, she must chart equally bold positions on the other crises that are forcing millions of other Americans into second-class status. We need serious presidential contenders to get specific about policies that ensure all Americans succeed.
We have some ideas about where the candidates should start.
Promote Fair Trade, Not Free Trade: President Obama and his allies are pushing hard to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal being negotiated by corporate bigwigs behind closed doors. The deal would lower wages, working standards, and environmental protections for people on two continents, while padding corporate profits. Serious candidates will unequivocally come out against TPP and commit to fair trade policies.
Support Fair Wages and Create a Tax Code That Levels the Playing Field: Americans are struggling to get by, even as big businesses and CEOs rake in gargantuan profits. Serious candidates should support workers by demanding a significant increase in the minimum wage. Serious candidates should support taxes on high frequency trading and other proposals that would make big corporations and the ultra-wealthy pay more in taxes to invest in education, jobs, and infrastructure.
Put People In, Get Money Out: As wealthy donors and corporations exercise unprecedented influence on our politics, millions of real people are being disenfranchised. From bogus voter ID measures to laws that prevent ex-felons from voting, people are being denied their basic democratic rights.
We need candidates who support an amendment to overturn Citizens United. Serious candidates would push to put people back at the center of our democracy.
As candidates cruise through Nevada, we’re ready to ask them the tough questions about these issues and more before they get our votes. At the heart of the matter is this: Are candidates ready to stand with us or are they going to kowtow to big money donors and the corporate elite?