Chairman Crowley, House Democrats Urge Republicans to Hold Hearings on the Rise of Hate Crimes

November 30, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, 69 House Democrats asked Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to hold hearings on the rise in hate crimes in America and the urgent need for the federal government to improve how these crimes are tracked and addressed.

The FBI recently reported that the agency documented 6,121 hate crimes in 2017 – a noted increase from 2015. However, this statistic is far from comprehensive given the broad gaps in reporting from many jurisdictions – meaning the true scope of this epidemic is likely far greater.

“It’s no secret that the rise in hate crimes has tracked with the campaign of the President. His stated support for the use of violence as well as sympathy for white supremacist groups has created an atmosphere of dread within all too many American communities,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given this disturbing new reality, we urge the committee to convene immediate hearings to address the rise of hate crimes, the need to bridge the data gap, and steps that lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and our communities can take to prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place.”

The letter is led by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus Chair Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), the ranking member on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, and LGBT Equality Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan (D-WI). The letter was also signed by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Donald Beyer, Jr. (D-VA), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and 59 others.

The FBI released a report on November 13 that found that hate crimes had increased in 2016. The FBI defines hate crimes as a criminal act motivated by bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

The full copy of the letter is here.