WASHINGTON -- Voters have had trouble getting clear pictures of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s positions on issues that the next president will have to tackle and that Latinos have ranked as important to them.
Latinos were thrust into the center of this year's election from the start with Trump's opening salvo on Mexico and as it closes, Latino turnout is being watched closely for its effect up and down the ballot.
For those still trying to cut through the fog of this year's campaign rhetoric, here are summaries on where the presidential candidates stand on key issues.
This category that includes job creation, wages, taxes and trade is also an area that ranks high - if not at the top - in interest among Latinos in polling.
Clinton is the optimist of the two. She credits President Barack Obama with recovery from the economic recession left over from the Bush years. She has pledged to push Congress to pass a jobs plan in its first 100 days that would rely on investment in various industries. She has called for a five-year, $275 billion infrastructure investment plan in roads, bridges, airports and other national infrastructure, paid for through business tax reforms.
Clinton also wants to increase taxes on the very wealthy and close loopholes used by them, while allowing middle income families to deduct average child care costs. An independent analysis found her proposals would result in a small increase in after-tax income on low- and middle-income households.
On minimum wage, Clinton supports an increase to $15 an hour and wants to ramp up enforcement on trade agreements.
Trump has painted a bleak economic picture of America’s last 8 years under Obama. Trump has proposed reforming taxes, slashing regulations, rebuilding the coal and steel industries and renegotiating trade deals; he's made revisions to his economic plans over the campaign.
An independent analysis of his tax plan reports Trump would provide tax cuts at all income levels, but that the biggest benefits would go to those at higher income levels.
He has proposed expanding the earned income tax credit, creating a wage supplement for the poor and creating dependent care savings accounts. Trump also has proposed a $1 trillion 10-year infrastructure plan that privatizes the infrastructure to help pay for it. That infrastructure investment is also meant to create jobs. A recent study of the plan by Penn Wharton Budget Model raised concerns about the long-term effect of the plan on spending and jobs.
This issue has dominated the headlines, but got little fleshing out in debates. It has been a severe dividing line between the candidates. Trump's harsh rhetoric on immigration from the start of his campaign is one reason he does not have strong support among Latinos, including Republicans.
Clinton pledges to go beyond President Barack Obama on immigration. She’d keep in place Obama’s deportation relief programs, good news for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants whose temporary protection from deportation ends in 2017. She also has said she’d expand the protection from deportation to others.
Her camp already is at work on the comprehensive immigration reform framework she’s promised to propose to Congress in 100 days. She has said it would include a pathway to citizenship.
Clinton faced criticism in the primaries for not taking a tougher stand against several Obama administration measures and later took issue with a series of raids and deportations.
She’s also said she would end family detention and close privately run immigration centers. In a debate, Clinton said her immigration plan includes border security, but she has spoken little about that. In the final debate, she defended a 2006 vote for border fencing and barriers, saying there are “some limited places where that was appropriate."
Trump has pledged to build a wall up and down the U.S.-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it. He has wavered on some aspects of his immigration enforcement plan, but ultimately has touted building the wall and forcing out of the U.S. people not legally in the country; he has touted the creation of a "deportation force," though his details remain unclear.
He has proposed temporarily stopping entry of Muslims, which he later adjusted to anyone seeking entry to the U.S. from countries with a history of terrorism.
Trump has said he would revive a national program using fingerprints to check legal status known as Secure Communities, as well as a program that uses local law enforcement to help enforce immigration laws known as 287(g).
Trump has vowed to end Obama’s executive actions shielding young immigrants who have lived in the U.S. most of their lives from deportation. Trump wants to vastly expand the Border Patrol.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, has changed the health care policy landscape. About 4 million more Hispanics have health care insurance under Obamacare and the program gets wide support from Latinos. But insurance companies are raising premiums and since open enrollment begins again this month, many shoppers will confront those increases just before going to the polls.
Clinton has long been a health care reformer. She has said there are problems with the Affordable Care Act but rather than dump it, wants to improve it. She’s a supporter of the “public option,” a government-run health care plan that is offered as an option along with private insurance. She also wants to come up with health care options for immigrants regardless of status and for rural populations.
Clinton has pledged to reduce out-of-pocket and prescription drug costs, use incentives to coax states to expand Medicaid, protect women’s access to reproductive health care, including contraception and abortions and double funding for community health centers. Clinton is a supporter of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions.
Trump wants to repeal Obamacare and has said he’d ask Congress to do it his first day in office. He would like to give people the ability to purchase insurance across state lines and provide tax breaks for purchasing insurance. He also has pledged to reduce drug prices.
Although he has supported abortion rights in the past, he said during the campaign women should be punished if they seek an abortion. His campaign later said that would apply only if abortion were illegal. Trump has said funding for some of the work Planned Parenthood does should be stopped because its affiliates provide abortions. He has promised to put anti-abortion justices on the Supreme Court.
Latinos rank this as the most important or one of the most important issues year after year. It got a lot more attention in the primaries and college affordability took the spotlight in the array of education issues.
Clinton has touted universal preschool for every 4-year old, free community college tuition for working families, more investment in Early Head Start, free tuition at four-year schools for students in families earning $125,000 or less a year, lower student loan interest rates and a debt relief plan.
She also has called for spending $2 billion to reform school discipline policies and stop the so-called "school to prison pipeline" that disproportionately affects Latino and African American students.
Trump wants to put $20 billion into school choice, which he says he’ll pay for by reprioritizing federal dollars. The money would come through a block grant to each state and would be for private and charter school attendance for low-income children. States would say how the money is distributed, but some Republican legislation has proposed allowing funding to follow children. He wants Congress to provide tax breaks and funding to colleges that reduce costs and student debt.
NATIONAL SECURITY/FOREIGN POLICY
For many, this comes down to protecting the country from terrorism, which includes how it should deal with ISIS and other threats abroad. But in this election, it also has included talk about gun violence. Like everyone else Latinos want to feel safe.
Clinton, brings to the table her experience as secretary of State. She backed the Iraq War but has since said the vote was a mistake; she said she believed the intelligence that the country had nuclear weapons. She has supported conducting air campaigns in troubled regions, including against ISIS. She’s also called for a strategy with allies for dismantling global terror networks, and beefing up forces to identify terrorists plotting attacks in the U.S. She’s expressed support for strengthening the military and protecting veterans.
A big difference with her opponent has been her support for expanding background checks on gun sales, for keeping guns from domestic abusers and making it a federal crime for someone who is prohibited from owning a gun to have one. She also opposes assault weapons.
Although she opposed lifting the Cuba embargo at the start of the decade, by 2014 Clinton, as secretary of state, had begun calling for review of the embargo and said it had not work. She has since called for the embargo to be lifted and said she'd work to get Congress to do that.
Trump has said he would build up the military and do more for veterans. But he was roundly criticized for statements he made against the parents of an American soldier who was Muslim and was killed in Iraq.
Trump has been critical of U.S. international partnerships, such as NATO, but has taken heat for his views on Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. He has criticized the U.S.’s nuclear agreement with Iran. He has been less specific about his plan for ISIS, saying it would give away too much information to those it’s supposed to stop.
On his website, Trump calls for establishing a commission on “Radical Islam” to educate Americans on it. He opposes further gun controls and calls for cracking down on violent criminals and gang members and drug dealers. He wants to give gun owners more power to defend themselves. Early this year, he said he wants to get rid of gun-free zones at schools and military bases, but tweaked that to say some would be eliminated and school resource officers should be armed.
Trump initially had a supportive view of the opening relationship with Cuba, but he has since hardened his stance and said he would reverse Obama's executive orders that have made more travel, trade and business with Cuba in the past year possible. He has insisted Fidel Castro meet demands to free political prisoners and to provide more political and religious freedom, among other things.
Clinton wants to continue work the work that Obama started on the environment and climate change. She got an endorsement from former vice president Al Gore and has pledged to defend the Paris agreement that sets goals around the world for cutting emissions and reducing warming of the planet.
She wants to implement the Clean Power plan, Obama's plan for fighting global warming, now tied up in court. She has proposed a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to help states, cities and rural areas to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy.
On her website she calls for expanding clean energy production on public lands and waters "tenfold within a decade." She also wants to cut tax subsidies to oil and gas companies, and cut methane emissions.
She has called for eliminating lead poisoning in five years, expanding solar use in low-income communities and creating an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force.
Trump's view on climate change has evolved from first saying he didn't believe in it and that it was a hoax by the Chinese to saying global warming is real but is man-made.
He has recently said he would "cut all wasteful climate change spending" to save $100 billion over eight years. He also has said he would end the Paris agreement on climate change that sets goals around the world for cutting emissions and reduce warming of the planet.
On his web site, Trump says he wants to "unleash America's $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves."
His campaign website also supports opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands, end Obama's moratorium on new coal leases and open shale energy deposits.