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Jayapal, Crowley Introduce Resolution Urging Department of Justice to Investigate Recent Attacks as Hate Crimes

WASHINGTON DC – In light of recent attacks on South Asian individuals in Kansas and Washington state, threats against Jewish community centers, and a nationwide surge in hate crimes, Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (NY-14) introduced a resolution asking the Department of Justice to dedicate robust resources to investigate these hate crimes, and urging President Trump to end his inflammatory rhetoric.

“This resolution is an act of resistance to Donald Trump’s hateful vilification and ‘otherizing’ of immigrants and communities of color,” said Rep. Jayapal. “Acts of violence rooted in racism have spiked since his campaign. From day one, Trump has used fringe extremist rhetoric to paint immigrant communities as criminals and terrorists, spurring senseless acts of violence that have no place in America. The DOJ must act, because no one should have to live in fear of racism-fueled violence.”

“What we see today is violence against those perceived to be foreign and a slew of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies coming out of the White House. That toxic mix is causing a palpable level of fear in the Indian-American and broader South Asian community. I’m committed to doing anything within my power to stop these acts of violence,” said Chairman Crowley.

On February 22, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot at a local restaurant in Olathe, Kansas by a patron who reportedly shouted at them, “Get out of my country.” Kuchibhotla was killed in this attack, while Madasani was injured along with a courageous young man, Ian Grillot, who intervened to try and stop the killer and was also shot.

On March 3, a Sikh-American was shot and injured in Kent, Washington by a gunman who reportedly told him to “Go back to your own country” before opening fire. Additionally, Jewish community centers across the country have been the target of dozens of threats.

This resolution expresses sympathy with the victims of these attacks, calls on the Department of Justice to carry out thorough hate crimes investigations, and urges President Trump to end his inflammatory rhetoric and policies, which have created a climate of fear in communities across the country. It is co-sponsored by more than 60 members of Congress. A full list of original co-sponsors can be found here.

Attacks against Hindu, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, South Asian, and communities of color have been on the rise. A report released this year by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) found levels of xenophobic rhetoric by political figures and hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities rose more than 30 percent in 2016 compared with a combined three-year period between 2011-2014. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the number of hate groups in the United States grew for a second year in a row in 2016, to 917 from 892 the previous year.

Text of the resolution