Voting Rights, Immigration and Human Rights

 Q37: Do you support restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, especially Section 4 that was invalidated by the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision, to protect voters from racially discriminatory changes such as redistricting plans that marginalize the voices of communities of color, voter ID laws, and polling place changes?

Clinton: “The assault on voting rights threatens to block millions of Americans from fully participating in our democracy.  We should be clearing the way for more people to vote, not putting up every roadblock anyone can imagine.

Congress should move quickly to pass legislation to repair the damage done to the Voting Rights Act and restore the full protections that American voters need and deserve. That’s why I support the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. John Lewis and other members of Congress. And we should also implement the recommendations of the bipartisan presidential commission to improve voting. In this campaign, I have called out discriminatory restrictions on voting like the closure of DMV offices in Alabama, and applauded states like California that are working to make it easier to vote. I have also called for setting a standard across the country of at least 20 days of early in-person voting, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting. And I believe we should go even further to strengthen voting rights by establishing universal, automatic voter registration so that everyone is automatically registered to vote when they turn 18—unless they actively choose to opt out.”

Sanders: Yes. “In Congress, I have fully supported all attempts to restore the VRA. The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision gutting the Voting Rights Act was a shameful step backward. The critical civil rights law which protected voters in places with a history of discrimination is as necessary today as it was in the era of Jim Crow laws. We should do everything possible to guarantee the right to vote, not make it harder for people to cast ballots. That’s why I strongly support the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015. Since the dreadful Shelby decision, several states have disgracefully instituted new laws designed to specifically suppress the vote of communities of color in the United States. The Republican Party is trying to make it harder to vote. This must be stopped.

“However, we must not just restore the VRA, we must go further. I have introduced legislation to make Election Day a national holiday. I have introduced legislation to provide for automatic voter registration and supported legislation to re-enfranchise the millions who had their voting rights taken away by felony conviction. We must expand early voting, make no-fault absentee ballots available for all and make sure there are sufficient numbers of both polling places and poll workers that staff them. Voting is the bedrock of democracy and we must ensure free and fair elections in which all Americans have the ability.”

Bush:  N/A.

Carson: “The goal for our legal structure for voting participation needs to strive to the ideal of one person, one vote.  That includes an expectation of fair participation and administration of procedures, which respect and encourage voter participation by all eligible voters across the generations regardless of gender or ethnicity.  Citizenship and maximum participation should be the philosophical and administrative goal.”

Q38: Do you support the United States’ ratification of the U.N. Convention for the Eradication of All Forms of discrimination Against Women?

Clinton: “As Secretary of State, I signed on behalf of the United States a joint declaration calling upon states to ratify and fulfill obligations under CEDAW and worked for the its ratification. It is past time we ratify this important treaty.”

Sanders: Yes. “In 2015, there should never be discrimination based on gender.  All over the world, women should be given the opportunity to succeed along with their male counterparts.  Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to do here at home.  Women earn just 79 cents to the dollar compared to men and the unemployment rate among women is much higher, especially women of color.  As President, I would make it my priority to sign legislation forbidding any form of discrimination based on gender, and ensure that women all over this country are given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Bush:  N/A.

Carson: “What I believe in is our promotion of the United States Constitution and the principles of equity and fairness, which we have established and striven towards. We need to understand and appreciate our standards, which have made America a place where people have gravitated to from around the globe based upon her principles of fairness and opportunity.”

Q39: Do you support civil rights for all US residents?  If elected, what is your plan for ensuring that civil rights are protected for all under your Administration?

Clinton: “I have spent my entire career fighting for equality for all and have been a vocal advocate for civil rights.  As President, I would continue to fight to protect and advance civil rights.  For example, in my campaign, I have already proposed policies and committed to work to restore the Voting Rights Act and take further actions to ensure equal access to the ballot box; reform the criminal justice system and end mass incarceration; promote comprehensive federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people; ensure equal pay for women and more.”

Sanders: Yes. “Throughout my life, I have been an active and outspoken supporter of civil rights, and I have worked for decades to end discrimination against minorities, women, and the LGBT community. I was a student organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and I participated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington in 1963. I voted against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. I cosponsored a constitutional amendment to ensure that equality of rights under the law are not denied or abridged on account of sex. I’ve worked hard at protecting the rights of all Americans against government encroachment by voting against PATRIOT Act and the re-authorization of the PATRIOT Act. As President, I would take every action possible to support, protect, and defend the civil rights of all US residents.”

 Bush: N/A.

Carson: “The equal treatment of all American citizens is the founding principle of our Constitution. In our Declaration of Independence, we declare the God ordained equality of humankind. America has not always live out the meaning of this great document. As president, my priority will be to do just that.”

Q40: Do you have a plan to reform our nation’s immigration system? If so, please explain?

Clinton: “We must take action to finally fix our immigration system. My plan will seek to keep families together and work to ensure a more humane enforcement and detention system. I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to full and equal citizenship, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it strengthens families, strengthens our economy, and strengthens our country. I will defend President Obama’s DACA/DAPA executive actions against partisan attacks. And if Congress continues its refusal to act, as President I would do everything possible under the law to go even further. I will also work to end family detention, close private immigrant detention centers, and expand access to affordable health care for families. As a Senator, I also took up these fights, supporting comprehensive immigration reform legislation and cosponsoring the Dream Act on multiple occasions.”

Sanders: Yes. “As President, I will sign comprehensive immigration reform into law to bring over 11 million undocumented workers out of the shadows. We cannot continue to run an economy where millions are made so vulnerable because of their undocumented status.

“As President, I will oppose tying immigration reform to the building of a border fence. Undocumented workers come to the United States to escape economic hardship and political persecution. Tying reform to unrealistic and unwise border patrol proposals renders the promise illusory for millions seeking legal status.

“As President, I will sign the DREAM Act into law to offer the opportunity of permanent residency and eventual citizenship to young people who were brought to the United States as children. We must recognize the young men and women who comprise the DREAMERs for who they are – American kids who deserve the right to legally be in the country they know as home.

“As President, I will expand President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include the parents of citizens, parents of legal permanent residents, and the parents of DREAMERs. We need to pursue policies that unites families and does not tear them apart.

“As President, I will authorize and substantially increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation to provide legal representation to guest workers who have been abused by their employers. Further, employers should be required to reimburse guest workers for housing, transportation expenses and workers’ compensation. “

Bush: Yes.

Carson: “No serious conversation about our immigration challenges can be had without addressing the issue of securing the borders.  Once the borders are secured, we can discuss how best to bring the more than 11 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows.  I propose a guest worker program in select U.S. industries, like agriculture, that would require illegal immigrants to pay penalties for back taxes and begin paying taxes.  They are not American citizens and do not have the right to vote.  However, this would allow them to come out of the shadows. They are not allowed to jump ahead of people who are entering the country legally to gain citizenship.”

Q41: Should you have an opportunity to make an appointment to the U. S. Supreme Court will you consider nominating a Black woman?

Clinton: As President, I would consider nominating a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sanders: Yes. “As president, I would be delighted to consider nominating a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Bush: N/A.