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Here's Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on New York Issues

By Nicole Levy | April 14, 2016 12:19pm
 These Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are looking for your vote in the New York primary on April 19.
These Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are looking for your vote in the New York primary on April 19.
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Getty/Andrew Renneisen; DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg; Getty/Ethan Miller; Getty/Scott Olson; DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

The New York presidential primary election is Tuesday, April 19, and many Democrats will tune in to the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders debate on CNN Thursday night at 9 p.m. to finalize their decisions about which candidate they're voting for. 

But the primary is high-stakes for both the Republican and Democratic parties this year: “This is the first time that New York is important for both presidential selection fronts,” Robert Shapiro, a political science professor at Columbia University, told AM New York. “New Yorkers have come to expect by the time that the primary comes, the ballots are locked in, but this year has shown that’s far from the case.”

With that in mind, we've prepared a guide to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates' stances on five issues particularly relevant to voters living in the Big Apple.


► Clinton wants to create a national Office of Immigrant Affairs that would integrate services for immigrants and their children across the government. The former secretary of state has also stated her opposition to Obama-sanctioned raids targeting women and children from Central America in early 2016: “Our immigration enforcement efforts should be humane and conducted in accordance with due process, and that is why I believe we must stop the raids happening in immigrant communities,” she said in a statement in January.

► Sanders has called for the Obama administration to halt its deportation raids as well. He's in favor of creating a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants attending school or working in the U.S. The U.S. senator from Vermont supports the DREAM Act, which would grant conditional resident status to foreigners who came to this country before age 16, graduate from an American high school, and meet a few other requirements.

► Donald Trump famously wants Mexico to pay for a permanent wall on the southern U.S. border to prevent illegal immigration. He'd like to deport all undocumented immigrants from the country, before allowing some to return under U.S. authorization, and end birthright citizenship. 

► Sen. Ted Cruz has called for a suspension of visas for skilled foreigners, and he said in February that the U.S. should deport all 12 million illegal immigrants now living here. Cruz also said he supports a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, supplemented by a tripling of the Border Patrol.

► Gov. John Kasich says that criminal undocumented immigrants should be deported, but other non-violent individuals should be permitted to stay in the U.S. He spoke on this view in front of an audience in Ohio before the primary there last month:

"Here is the fact: you don’t actually think folks that we are going to drive around in Canton, Ohio, and yank people out of their homes and ship them to Mexico, leaving their kids on their front porch?" he asked. "Of course it is not going to happen. So I am trying to come up with the best way."


► Clinton supports a guarantee of up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers to care for a new child or a seriously ill family member, or recover from their own illness or injury. Under her plan, the wage replacement rate for an employee on leave would be at least two-thirds of their usual wages. Her campaign website says she would fund paid leave with new taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Sanders agrees with Clinton that American workers should be guaranteed at least 12 weeks of paid leave. But unlike his Democratic competitor, he would fund that initiative with a bump in payroll taxes of $1.61 a week, as outlined by a bill called the Family Act. He says he would sign the bill into law if elected.

► Cruz has said that while he supports maternity and paid leave personally, they aren't part of his platform: “I think maternity leave and paternity leave are wonderful things. I support them personally,” he said to "Making It Work, Iowa" last fall. “But I don’t think the federal government should be in the business of mandating them.” In January, he argued that paid leave would drive up the cost of labor for employers. 

► Kasich's stance on paid leave isn't 100 percent clear, but he has said that while the government shouldn't mandate it, women should be given the flexibility to telecommute. “The reason why that’s important is, when women take maternity leave or time to be with the children, then what happens is they fall behind on the experience level, which means that the pay becomes a differential," he said at a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire in January.

► Trump hasn't had much to say on the issue, though he did say in November that more companies should offer on-site childcare.


► Clinton has advocated for raising the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $12 without raising middle class taxes.

► Sanders has proposed a national $15 per hour minimum wage, which he considers a living wage. 

► Trump stated his opposition to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour during a Republican presidential debate in November. He said that American workers' wages were already "too high" and raising them further would inhibit the U.S. from competing with the rest of the world.

Cruz explained his resistance to increasing the minimum wage with the following line: "Every time you raise the minimum wage, the people who are hurt the most is the most vulnerable," he said on PBS in June.

► Kasich is against a federal minimum wage increase, he said at last month's debate


► Clinton wants the U.S. to reconsider the "public option" or government-run health plan dropped from the Affordable Care Act during the law's drafting. She would work with state governors to give Americans another choice of insurance coverage, rather than try to push a bill through Congress, her website says.

She's vehemently pro-choice when it comes to women's reproductive rights, and she's called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a law that prohibits the federal government from covering abortion care and makes it “harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights," the candidate said in January.

► Sanders' line on health care is "Medicare for All." His plan would create a single-payer health care program, through which the federal government would pay for most health care. Patients wouldn't have to deal with deductibles or co-payments, and they wouldn't have to rely on employer-provided insurance, but they would have to pay some new taxes.

The U.S. senator from Vermont also has a record of defending women's reproductive rights. 

► Trump unveiled on his website last month a seven-point health care reform plan that would abolish Obamacare, eliminate barriers preventing the interstate sale of insurance, and make individuals' insurance premium payments fully tax deductible.

Trump is pro-life after years of identifying as pro-choice

► Cruz has told voters he will "repeal every word of Obamacare,” which he said has cost some Americans their jobs and doctors and raised their insurance premiums. He has not unveiled a comprehensive plan for a replacement, but he said he would like to see the insurance marketplace expand and extend across state lines.

The U.S. senator from Texas is pro-life.

► Kasich wants to repeal Obamacare, replacing it with a system of proactive primary care that rewards high-performing providers.

During his years in Congress, the pro-life governor of Ohio opposed federal funding for abortions and voted to ban partial-birth abortions.


Clinton, according to her husband's words on the campaign trail last week, "thinks the federal government requires too many tests for U.S. schoolchildren."

“She thinks they are just too much, that it’s national overreach, and the most it could ever do is to help people at the very bottom levels of achievement,” former President Bill Clinton said Monday in Cheyenne, WY.

She doesn't oppose testing in general, but she thinks investing some of the money spent on yearly examinations would be better spent on teachers' education, the former president elaborated.

► Sanders wants to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, cut student loan interest rates, and fund it all by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on "Wall Street speculators," his website says.

► Trump opposes Common Core, the nationwide initiative setting standards for students' skills in English and mathematics at the end of each year. He would whittle down the U.S. Department of Education, if not cut it entirely, arguing that education should be "local" and parents should be able to choose among charter, magnet and public schools.

► Cruz's plan mirrors Trump's. 

► Kasich, unlike Trump and Cruz, still supports Common Core. But he wants to cut education spending. When it came to Ohio's budget, the governor used his veto power to trim more than $84 million of funding from public schools.