CAPAC Applauds New FBI Hate Crime Tracking Data

Aug 2, 2013 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Department of Justice announced that FBI Director Robert Mueller has approved a number of additional categories to be included in the Uniform Crime Reporting program that tracks hate crimes. The additional categories, recommended by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board, include criteria to track crimes against Sikh, Hindu, Arab, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness and Orthodox Christian individuals. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: “Today, FBI Director Mueller made clear that all Americans should be secure and protected from crimes driven by hate. Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans have been disproportionately targeted in the years since 9/11, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has long pushed for a much needed policy change to track hate crimes perpetrated against these communities. I am proud that with today’s announcement, law enforcement will be able to better address hate crimes and ensure that all Americans have equal protection under the law.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: “I was proud to fight for this much-needed policy change that will bring attention to the increasing number of violent attacks committed against religious minorities in this country.  As our nation grows ever more diverse, we must remain vigilant that the principles of religious liberty that America was founded upon are not trampled, and that people of all ethnicities and religions are welcomed and protected from harm.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Whip: “Today’s announcement that the Department of Justice and FBI have approved additional categories to track hate crimes improves the safety and security of Americans. The additional categories include offenses committed against Sikh, Hindu, Arab, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, and Orthodox Christian individuals. I applaud FBI Director Robert Mueller for his decision to approve the changes. America is more prosperous when all American’s are equally protected under the law.”

Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07): “I am pleased that Director Mueller has approved the FBI Advisory Policy Board’s recommendation to add several categories in its tracking of hate crimes, including offenses committed against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. As we near the one-year anniversary of the tragic Oak Creek shootings where six Sikh Americans were killed in a horrific hate crime, I am confident this change will protect domestic civil rights and aid law enforcement in securing our communities. By ensuring that all Americans – regardless of religion, race, gender or creed – feel safe in their communities, we can heal our families and honor the memories of those killed in Oak Creek.”

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08): “I am pleased Director Mueller approved the FBI Advisory Policy Board’s recommendation to add important categories in its tracking of hate crimes. It is important to end discrimination in law enforcement, which is why I, along with my fellow CAPAC members, urged the FBI to add these categories in its tracking, including crimes committed against Sikh, Hindu, Arab, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness and Orthodox Christian individuals. It is my hope that with this new policy addition our justice system will work better to serve the American people justly and fairly.”

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS): “I am pleased that Director Mueller has approved the FBI Advisory Policy Board’s recommendation to add several categories in its tracking of hate crimes.  As we remember the innocent who were killed at Oak Creek one year ago, let us continue to pray for the families and communities who were affected by the hatred and cowardly act of a lone individual.  I want to commend the help of our Indian-American community throughout the U.S. and USINPAC for their support and work on this critical issue.   Violence and discrimination against any individual, group, or ethnic community should never be tolerated and we must do our best to prevent it from happening in the future.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02): “As we approach the one-year anniversary of the attack of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, it is appropriate that the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are taking action to track hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, Arabs, Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Orthodox Christians.  The Oak Creek tragedy shows that we must ensure that all Americans can freely exercise their First Amendment rights.  This step by the DOJ and FBI will help to guarantee that fundamental freedom is safeguarded.”

Congressman Al Green (TX-09): “The Department of Justice has taken an important step in addressing the invidious discrimination, hatred, and threats directed at innocent communities, as well as individuals in our nation. As a nation, we cannot allow anyone be bullied, threatened, harassed, or discriminated against simply because of their appearance or religious beliefs. People of good will must stand in solidarity against such onerous behavior. We must learn from incidents like the Oak Creek Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting. As a Member of Congress, I will continue to be an advocate against invidious discrimination, and work with my colleagues to ensure law enforcement has all the tools it needs to protect any potential victims.”

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47): “It is sad that anyone would be targeted for something as personal and important as their faith. I applaud FBI Director Mueller for taking the necessary steps to better track religious hate crimes by including a more diverse range of religions – one that is more representative of the American people – in the FBI’s reporting. My hope is that this new reporting requirement will lead to a reduction and the eventual elimination of all hate crimes.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09): “I was pleased to see Director Mueller approve the FBI Advisory Policy Board’s recommendations to improve tracking methods for hate crimes that target Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans.  Since 9/11, discrimination and violence against these populations have been prevalent and unacceptable.  We are a nation that values our ethnic and religious diversity and we should not tolerate acts of hate or intimidation. As a government, we must do what we can to protect people and communities from hate crimes.  I am glad to see the FBI taking these steps to enhance tracking of these bias-based crimes.”

Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15): "I applaud the decision by FBI Director Mueller to approve the FBI Advisory Policy Board’s recommendation to begin tracking and documenting hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu and Arab Americans. As a former hate crimes prosecutor in Alameda County, I understand the importance of collecting this data for law enforcement purposes. It is my hope that with this data we can better protect the communities against senseless hate crimes and violence."

More information about the DOJ announcement can be found here.

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.