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Senate Unanimously Passes Rubio, Harris, Collins, Feinstein Resolution Condemning Hate Crimes

Apr 6, 2017 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) yesterday introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning hate crimes, discrimination, and other forms of animus targeting individuals and communities across the United States. The Senate passed the resolution unanimously last night.

The resolution cites violent incidents targeting Jewish, Muslim, African-American, Hindu, and Sikh communities. It also mentions the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, bomb threats against 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 occurrences in the United States, hold perpetrators accountable, and bring them to justice.

“Embracing diversity of thought and people from different backgrounds has made America a more perfect union,” said 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.”

“In America, no one should live in fear due to their religion, race, or ethnicity,” said 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 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 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.”

The full text of the resolution is below.

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 not seen since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);

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 detailed 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 colleges and universities nearly doubled compared to the number of incidents in 2014, and the 2016-2017 school year has seen an uptick in white supremacist activity on college campuses across the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League;

Whereas in 2015, among single-bias hate crimes 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 FBI;

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 Texas, Washington, and Florida, and Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated in Missouri and Pennsylvania;

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

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 we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms;

(2)  Rejects hate-motivated crimes as an attack on the fabric of American society and the ideals of pluralism and respect;

(3)  Condemns hate crimes, as well as all forms of racism, religious and ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to violence, and other forms of animus targeting minorities across the United States;

(4)  Calls on federal law enforcement officials, working with state and local officials, to expeditiously investigate all credible reports of hate crimes, incidents and threats against minorities in the United States, hold perpetrators accountable, and bring them to justice;

(5)  Encourages the Department of Justice and other federal agencies to work to improve the reporting of hate crimes, and emphasize the importance of law enforcement’s collection and reporting of data pursuant to federal law;

(6)  Encourages the Administration to develop an interagency taskforce led by the Attorney General, bringing together the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Education, State, as well as the FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to collaborate on effective strategies and efforts to detect and deter hate crimes in order to protect minority communities; and

(7)  Calls on the Administration to offer federal assistance that may be available for victims and to enhance security measures and improve preparedness for religious institutions, places of worship, and other institutions that have been targeted because of their affiliation with a particular religious, racial, or ethnic minority across the United States.