Politics

Pete Buttigieg pledges 'a new era for Latinos' by targeting Trump policies

Key Points
  • Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg promises a "new era for Latinos," including a rollback of a number of President Trump's policies.
  • "Whether it is the disenfranchisement of the people of Puerto Rico or Latino neighborhoods denied access to clean air and water, Latinos in the United States have been burdened for too long by a legacy of systemic discrimination," Buttigieg says.
  • The plan rehashes elements of the "Douglass Plan," or Buttigieg's agenda for the nation's black population, by calling for bigger investments in Latino-owned businesses with a $10 billion fund for minority entrepreneurs.
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign event December 08, 2019 at Washington Middle School in Washington, Iowa.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg unveiled a proposal on Monday pledging a "new era for Latinos," including a rollback of a number of President Donald Trump's policies.

"Whether it is the disenfranchisement of the people of Puerto Rico or Latino neighborhoods denied access to clean air and water, Latinos in the United States have been burdened for too long by a legacy of systemic discrimination," Buttigieg wrote in the plan.

"It is for this reason that our campaign has woven policies to support and empower the Latino community throughout the plans we have released. Now, we are committing to do even more."

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is in fourth place in national surveys of the Democratic presidential primary. Despite his appeal among white voters in the early contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire, he has had trouble connecting with Americans of color, including black and Latino voters, which are both key voting blocs.

According to a recent national survey conducted by Quinnipiac University, 29% of Hispanic voters view Buttigieg favorably, compared to 50% for former Vice President Joe Biden, 55% for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and 35% for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Donald Trump is seen as favorable by 30% of Hispanic voters, but has a much higher unfavorable rating than Buttigieg, at 66% compared to 27%. More than 40% of Hispanic voters told Quinnipiac that they had not heard enough about Buttigieg to form an opinion.

His plan released on Monday rehashes elements of previously released proposals, including his "Douglass Plan," or his agenda for the nation's black population.

Among the proposals included in both plans is a call for bigger investments in Latino-owned businesses using a $10 billion fund for minority entrepreneurs, and a proposal to award 25% of federal contracting dollars to underrepresented groups, including Latinos.

The new plan also calls for a reversal of a number of Trump policies such as the so-called "public charge rule," and an effort by the administration to tighten work requirements for the nation's food stamp program that was made public earlier this month.

And he will "remedy the harms" caused by Trump's push to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census by investigating whether Latinos are undercounted, he said, and work to address the effects if so.

The public charge rule, currently blocked by federal courts, would make it more difficult for low-income immigrants to obtain green cards. The Supreme Court ruled that Trump could not add a citizenship question to the census in June.

Buttigieg, who has previously called for a "grand bargain" on immigration, reiterated his support for a "path to citizenship" for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

"Undocumented people are Americans in every way except one — they are not citizens and often have no pathway to citizenship. Pete will support legislation that provides a mechanism to legal status and ultimately citizenship," the plan reads.

That pathway would be available to the so-called "Dreamers," or those protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as those with Temporary Protected Status, according to the plan.

The campaign also wrote in the plan that Buttigieg will increase funding to Puerto Rico's Medicaid program — funding it the same way the programs are funded in the 50 states and the District of Columbia — and will eliminate the five-year waiting period for Medicaid and other health programs for green card holders.

The plan has an emphasis on Latino business owners, and specifically references a South Bend ice cream shop started by two Mexican immigrants that Buttigieg said has become "emblematic of the vital role that South Bend's Latino community has played in the life of our city."

Turning to data, the plan notes that Latinos are 50% more likely to start a business than white people, and that those businesses tend to grow faster.

"Despite these contributions, Latinos have been subjected to relentless and bigoted attacks by this President and his administration," Buttigieg wrote. "A man who launched his campaign slurring Mexican immigrants and questioning the impartiality of a Mexican-American judge has since unleashed a crude crusade of cruelty and harassment, and inspired others to do the same."

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