Press Release | Press Releases | news room

03.08.22

WASHINGTON – US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered his opening statement during a hearing entitled “Combating the Rise in Hate Crimes.” This hearing includes the first Department of Justice (DOJ) testimony on hate crimes since the January 15 synagogue attack in Colleyville, Texas, and the recent wave of bomb threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Key quotes:

“We are hardly three months into 2022, and already, our nation has seen a spate of hate crimes…This much is clear: No community is immune from violent acts of hate. And Congress cannot ignore the appalling rise in hate incidents we’ve seen in recent years.”

“The FBI’s most recent annual report revealed that hate crimes in 2020 were at the highest level since 2001, with more than 8,000 criminal incidents reported. These figures are sobering, but they don’t tell the whole story. According to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are actually hundreds of thousands of hate crimes across our country each year. Many are not reported by victims. And when they are, federal police too often do not report them to the FBI.”

“We have to address this reporting gap. And when criminals attack our neighbors based on who they are, where they are from, how they pray, or who they love, they have to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The good news is, this Congress has taken steps in the right direction to respond to hate crimes. Last year, we passed—and President Biden signed—the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Actan important, bipartisan bill that has expanded the Justice Department’s toolkit for addressing the appalling rise in hate incidents targeting members of the AAPI community and other communities at risk.”

“None of us are under the illusion that one bill or one committee hearing is a silver bullet for preventing hate crimes. There’s more work to do. And during today’s hearing, I look forward to learning what we can do to better support survivors of hate crimes and the members of law enforcement who respond to them.”

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.

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