April 06, 2017

Senate Unanimously Passes Harris, Rubio, Feinstein, and Collins’ Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Ethnic, Religious & Racial Hate Crimes

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning racial, religious and ethnic hate crimes, as well as all forms of bias and discrimination, incitement to violence, and other forms of animus targeting these communities across the United States. Following its introduction, the resolution unanimously passed the Senate last night.

The bipartisan resolution cites the increase in violent incidents targeting Jewish, Muslim, African-American, Hindu, and Sikh communities, among others, in recent years. It also mentions hate crimes and hate-inspired incidents such as the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers, and burning of mosques and Islamic centers.

The resolution calls on federal law enforcement, working with state and local officials, to investigate all credible reports of these hate crimes, incidents and threats in the United States, hold perpetrators accountable, and bring them to justice. It also calls on the Administration to offer federal assistance to victims and enhance security at places of worship and other institutions of any faith that have been targeted, calls on law enforcement to expedite its investigations into these crimes nationwide, and encourages federal law enforcement officials to improve required reporting of hate crimes.

"In America, no one should live in fear due to their religion, race, or ethnicity," said Senator Harris. "I am proud to lead this bipartisan group of senators with one voice to condemn the rise of hate crimes that target minority communities, as well as any form of religious or ethnic bias, racism, discrimination, or other forms of hate. Many of our constituents have been directly impacted by the unconscionable rise of hate crimes and hate-motivated violence in the United States, and law enforcement must do more to ensure minority communities are secure. Today, we stand united in our condemnation and rejection of hate-motivated crimes as an attack on the fabric of American society and the ideals of pluralism and respect."

"The recent rise in the number of hate crimes is truly troubling and is counter to American values. No individual in our society should have to live in fear of violence or experience discrimination," said Senator Collins. "Our resolution sheds light on these cowardly acts and calls on law enforcement officials to thoroughly investigate hate crimes and take steps to prevent these heinous incidents from occurring."

"Over the past year, we've seen an appalling increase in hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, LGBT individuals and other minorities," said Senator Feinstein. "The rise in hate crimes is due, in part, to the perception that people in positions of power are indifferent and do not prioritize protecting the rights of all Americans. We must stand together to make clear that hate has no place in our country and these vicious crimes will be investigated with the seriousness that's demanded."

"Embracing diversity of thought and people from different backgrounds has made America a more perfect union," said Senator Rubio. "Unfortunately, there are still some individuals who seek to tear our social fabric apart with violent acts and threats fueled by hatred. With many in our country and around the world feeling discouraged by this divisiveness and animosity, it's important to make it clear that we stand united in condemning the targeting of anyone simply because they are different."

The text of the Senate resolution follows:

Whereas, in the past several years, violent crimes, threats of violence, and other incidents of hate-motivated targeting of religious, racial, and ethnic minorities have increased across the United States;

Whereas, in 2015, hate crimes targeting Muslims in the United States increased by 67 percent, reaching a level of violence targeting Muslim Americans that the United States had not experienced since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation;

Whereas, in 2015, anti-Semitic incidents increased in the United States for the second straight year, according to the Anti-Defamation League's 2015 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, which describes trends such as the tripling of assaults targeting Jews since 2012 and the rise of online harassment and hate speech directed at Jewish journalists and individuals through social media;

Whereas, in 2015, anti-Semitic incidents at institutions of higher education nearly doubled compared to the number of those incidents in 2014, and during the 2016-2017 school year there has been an increase in white supremacist activity on college campuses across the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League;

Whereas, in 2015, among single-bias hate crime incidents in the United States, 59.2 percent of victims were targeted due to racial, ethnic, or ancestry bias, and among those victims, 52.2 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders' anti-Black or anti-African American bias, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation;

Whereas, in 2017, there have been more than 100 reported bomb threats against Jewish community centers, Jewish day schools, and other Jewish organizations and institutions in more than 38 States;

Whereas, in 2017, Islamic centers and mosques have been burned in the States of Texas, Washington, and Florida, and Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated in the States of Missouri and Pennsylvania;

Whereas, in 2017, there has been harassment and hate-based violence against individuals who are perceived to be Arab or Muslim, including members of South Asian communities in the United States, and Hindu and Sikh Americans have been the target of hate-based violence targeting religious minorities; and

Whereas, on February 28, 2017, President Donald Trump, before a joint session of Congress, acknowledged threats targeting Jewish community centers and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, and stated that "we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms": Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate-

(1) affirms that the United States stands united in condemning hate and evil in all forms;

(2) rejects hate-motivated crime as an attack on the fabric of the society of the United States and the ideals of pluralism and respect;

(3) condemns hate crime and any other form of racism, religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United States;

(4) calls on Federal law enforcement officials, working with State and local officials-

(A) to expeditiously investigate all credible reports of hate crimes and incidents and threats against minorities in the United States; and

(B) to hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring the perpetrators to justice;

(5) encourages the Department of Justice and other Federal agencies-

(A) to work to improve the reporting of hate crimes; and

(B) to emphasize the importance of the agencies' collection and reporting of data pursuant to Federal law;

(6) encourages the development of an interagency task force led by the Attorney General to collaborate on the development of effective strategies and efforts to detect and deter hate crime in order to protect minority communities; and

(7) calls on the executive branch-

(A) to continue Federal assistance that may be available for victims of hate crimes; and

(B) to continue safety and preparedness programs for religious institutions, places of worship, and other institutions that have been targeted because of the affiliation of the institutions with any particular religious, racial, or ethnic minority in the United States.