Commentary: Washington, DC – Representatives José E. Serrano, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Hakeem Jeffries, and Grace Meng condemned the Republican decision to block their amendment to combat hate crimes from being considered by the full House. The amendment was offered this week to H.R. 3354 – Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, and would have allocated $10 million for State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance grant programs to provide support for the criminal investigation and prosecution of hate crimes at the state and local level.
“The events in Charlottesville last month made clear that hate speech and hate crimes simply cannot be overlooked and need to be properly addressed at every level of our government. As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science under the Appropriations Committee I see it as part of my responsibility to ensure that the Department of Justice has the resources it needs to combat bigotry and hate. Our amendment would have helped states and localities investigate and prosecute hate crimes, and shown that we in Congress take this rising tide of intolerance seriously. I’m deeply disappointed that Republicans once again failed to recognized the importance of this issue and refused to help our law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to keep our communities safe and fight one the most alarming issues we are experiencing as a country,” said Congressman José E. Serrano.
“No community is immune from hate groups and hate crimes,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “Since President Trump took office, we’ve seen bomb threats against a Jewish community center and racist comments directed toward Muslims while praying at a Mosque in Albuquerque. Just this week, residents in my district expressed outrage and fear when a neighbor displayed an image of a flag with a Swastika symbol in the front window. We should all speak out against this racism and bigotry, but it’s just as important to give law enforcement the resources to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”
"Hate groups that worship at the altar of white supremacy are on the rise. Donald Trump has chosen to provide aid and comfort to the alt right and unrepentant racists like David Duke. We must ensure that governments at the local level have the resources needed to prosecute hate crimes waged by these groups. By preventing our localities from getting these critical resources, Republicans are once again on the wrong side of history,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.
“It is deeply troubling that GOP leaders blocked this amendment from being voted on by the House,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng “This measure would have been a vital tool in combating hate crimes and it would have provided law enforcement with needed resources to help with that effort. In the wake of Charlottesville and other bias incidents across the country, it is clear that we must do all we can to fight crimes involving racism, bigotry and intolerance. Unfortunately, the rejection of this amendment just made that job harder”