Civil and Human Rights

Q92: Do you support civil rights for all U.S. residents? If elected, what is your plan for ensuring that civil rights are protected for all under your Administration?

Biden: Yes. I have spent my entire career fighting to lift up working people and to use my voice to speak for those who weren’t able to speak for themselves. Donald Trump’s presidency has been a disaster for all working people, and especially for people of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.

I am running to rebuild the middle class so that this time everyone comes along, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. Everyone means everyone. We are currently living in a time where the poverty rate for black Americans is still twice what it is for white Americans. We cannot build an inclusive middle class unless we root out systemic racism in our institutions, laws, hearts – and workplaces.

Addressing inequalities for all working people have been part of the plans I have put forward in my presidential campaign thus far:

On climate change, I will stand up to abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately impact communities of color.

On criminal justice reform, I will root out racial disparities in every part of our justice system.

On health care, I will build on the ACA to make affordable, quality health care a right regardless of your race, gender, income, or zip code. I will reverse President Trump’s actions to allow insurers to once again discriminate based on pregnancy, on gender, and on gender identity.

On behalf of older workers, I will fight against widespread age discrimination by putting in place workplace safeguards, making it easier for older workers to prove that they were treated unfairly at work.

On education, I will triple the funding for Title I schools, from $15 billion to $45 billion—and eliminate the funding disparities between schools. I will offer universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. And, I will fully fund our federal obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide 40% of the extra cost of special education. I will also make sure everyone has access to education beyond high school and that public servants have access to loan forgiveness.

I will implement policies to increase access to capital for black-owned small businesses and continue to work to reduce black unemployment.

I have a proud history as a fighter for civil rights for all Americans through my entire career and I will continue that fight from the White House, as I did when I was President Obama’s Vice President and partner. I will begin by appointing leaders in the Justice Department, the Education Department, the Health and Human Services Department, the Labor Department, the Housing and Urban Development Department, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and across the rest of the federal government, who share my commitment to tough and effective enforcement of all civil rights laws. Also, I will appoint Supreme Court justices and federal judges who are committed to the rule of law, understand the importance of individual civil rights and civil liberties in a democratic society, and respect foundational precedents like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade.

Protecting and advancing civil rights for all is fundamental to all of my plans. My plan to protect and support civil rights can be found in immigration plan HERE, my plan to end violence against women HERE, my plan to support veterans HERE, my plan to support workers’ rights HERE, my plan to lead the democratic world HERE, my criminal justice reform plan HERE, and my education plans HERE and HERE.

Bloomberg: Yes. As president, Mike will defend basic freedoms for all Americans by enforcing civil rights and removing obstacles to participate in society. Many of Mike’s policies work to confront deep-seated racial and economic inequities that fall largely on Black, Latino and other underserved communities.

Buttigeig: Yes. I support civil rights for all U.S. residents. I will do this by strengthening civil rights offices in the major government agencies (such as DOJ, DOE, HHS, etc). I will direct these agencies to reinstate critical guidance from the Obama administration, aggressively pursue civil rights violations, and look for ways to expand civil rights protections. I will also empower the US Civil Rights Commission and the EEOC so that they can more adequately fulfill their missions.

De La Fuente: Yes. The plan is to continue to fight for truthtellers.

Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar will prioritize strong enforcement of civil rights legislation including the Civil Rights Act. She will support full funding and staffing for the various Offices of Civil Rights to ensure cases are fully investigated. And she is committed to passing the Equality Act in year one of her Presidency to take on discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.

Sanders: Yes.

Throughout Bernie’s life, he has been an active and outspoken supporter of civil rights, and he has worked for decades to end discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender identity, religion, country of origin, or disability. He was a student organizer for the

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and he participated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington in 1963. He voted against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. He cosponsored a constitutional amendment to ensure that equality of rights under the law are not denied or abridged on account of sex. He has worked hard at protecting the rights of all Americans against government encroachment by voting against the PATRIOT Act and the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act. As President, he would take every action possible to support, protect, and defend the civil rights of all US residents that includes but is not limited to strengthening and expanding the Fair Housing Act and increasing enforcement to eliminate housing discrimination, restoring and expanding the Voting Rights Act, passing the Equality Act, enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and expanding access to basic civil rights owed to people with disabilities.

Steyer: Yes. Our government must be of, by, and for the people. That means all of us — not just some. We must actively call out racism, white nationalism, LGBTQ and gender bias, as well as work to address the disparities still defining too much of American life. My administration will vigorously defend the civil rights of all Americans, work across agencies to reform policies that reinforce inequality, and ensure justice in our housing, education, access to capital, environmental, agriculture, health, and human services programs, and election processes. I also strongly support legislation to establish a commission to re-examine the issue of reparations.

Warren: Yes. Coming out of the Great Depression, America built a great middle class, but systematic discrimination locked out African-American families from being part of it. And the 2008 financial crisis hit people of color particularly hard. Economic justice is not – and has never been – sufficient to ensure racial justice. That’s why I’ve proposed plans that would substantially narrow the racial wealth gap – like forgiving up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 95 percent of people who carry it and establishing a minimum $50 billion fund for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. I have a plan to tackle our government’s history of racist redlining, and I’ve proposed creating a Small Business Equity Fund to help close the startup capital gap for entrepreneurs of color. And I will ban federal contractors from asking applicants about past salary history and criminal records when making offers, which can lock women into lower wages and discriminates against formerly incarcerated people. The United States also has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and there are structural race problems in this system. For the exact same crimes, Black Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested, charged, wrongfully convicted, and given harsher sentences. Race matters, and we have to call it out. We can start by changing the way we think and talk about public safety in America — to focus on prevention rather than punishment. I’ll fight to end cash bail, restrict fines and fees levied before adjudication, and stop criminalizing homelessness, poverty, and mental health crises. I’ll also end racially discriminatory policies like stop-and-frisk and broken windows policing and increase governmental and civilian oversight, including by building up use of pattern-or-practice investigations. I’ll roll back the immunities that shield officers and prosecutors who commit constitutional violations. I’ll also strengthen public defenders to ensure access to qualified counsel, rein in prosecutorial abuses, and repeal overly restrictive habeas rules. I believe every person should be treated with dignity and respect and feel safe to be who they are. First, I will fight to pass the Equality Act to explicitly guarantee that no LGBTQ+ person in America is discriminated against for who they are or who they love. And I will eliminate the filibuster so that we have a path to getting critical legislation like the Equality Act passed. But we can’t just wait for Congress to act. In my first 100 days as president, I will use every legal tool we have to make sure that LGBTQ+ people can live free from discrimination. We will restore and strengthen critical Obama-era non-discrimination protections that the Trump administration gutted. We will also take steps to affirmatively expand LGBTQ+ non-discrimination protections everywhere, from education to health care, workplaces, housing, to the criminal justice system, through regulation and executive action. As president, I will work in partnership with the disability community to combat ableism. And I will fight alongside them for justice across all aspects of life and to fulfill the goals of the ADA: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self sufficiency. I will also fight for every kid in America to have access to a high-quality public education. I will fight to fully fund IDEA and tackle discriminatory practices like zero-tolerance discipline policies, and will establish new protections for immigrants with disabilities and end the Trump inhumane immigration agenda that has coupled xenophobia with ableism. And I will fight for immigrants’ civil rights, including by protecting the rights of immigrant students, ensuring that all immigrant children have access to a quality public education, no matter their native language, national origin, immigration status, or educational history. And I’ll direct HUD to issue regulations to the greatest extent it can under the Fair Housing Act to end housing discrimination against domestic violence survivors, LGBTQ+ people, and based on tenants’ immigration status or criminal records.