In order to strengthen its response to violent hate crime in the United States, Human Rights First makes the following recommendations to the U.S. government.
Congress should pass and the President should sign the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA) in order to provide support to local law enforcement officials in addressing the full range of violent hate crimes and facilitating federal involvement when local authorities are unable or unwilling to achieve a just result.
Congress should expand the mandate of the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice to respond to community conflicts not only based on race, color, and national origin, but also to those based on religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability—the full range of categories that will be covered by the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act.
In order to improve federal monitoring and data collection efforts under the Hate Crimes Statistics Act:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation should:
- update its reporting form and its 1999 publications Training Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection and Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines to reflect recent realities and trends in hate crime incidents;
- collect and publish data on bias crimes directed at individuals on the basis of their gender and gender identity;
- expand the categories for which data is collected and published by including sections for “Anti-Arab,” “Anti-Sikh,” and “Anti-Hindu,” as crime victim categories;
- The Department of Justice should take steps to increase awareness and understanding by local jurisdictions of the importance of reporting hate crimes to the FBI and otherwise encourage reporting by law enforcement agencies that have not participated, have underreported, or have reported zero hate crimes in the past. This could include increased federal resources for local law enforcement agencies that participate in hate crime reporting; efforts to increase participation in the FBI’s training for local enforcement in monitoring and combating hate crimes; and enhanced scrutiny of the performance for nominal participant agencies that consistently report zero hate crimes.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Department of Justice should publish findings on hate crimes in its annual report on the findings of the National Crime Victimization Survey. Data and analysis from the information collected about hate crimes in the annual survey is required to better identify at-risk populations and the extent to which these crimes are underreported to law enforcement authorities.
The U.S. government should fund a representative national assessment of the disposition of hate crimes reported to the police, including the response of the police and other government agencies to those crimes as well as hate crime prosecutions at the Federal and state levels. This assessment should be done with the input of civil society groups, victim advocacy organizations and other experts.
The Department of Education should improve campus hate crime reporting by implementing fully the amendments to the Higher Education Act (HEA) recently signed into law to bring Department of Education campus hate crime statistics into conformity with those collected by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Program.
The Departments of Justice and Education should fund tolerance education and hate crime prevention initiatives. Congress should direct or authorize the Department of Education to do so in any elementary and secondary school education reauthorization legislation.
The Department of Justice and/or the Department of Homeland Security should study the causes of the documented increase in bias-motivated violence against new immigrants, people who look like immigrants, and Hispanic Americans, and report publicly on the findings.
Senior political leaders and law enforcement officials at all levels of government should condemn violent hate crimes, incitement to violence, and the demonization of any community, including immigrants. They should take steps to work with victims, their communities, and civil society groups to build the confidence of victims to report violent hate crimes, including by making clear that everyone in the United States, regardless of immigration status, is protected under US law against violent hate crimes on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin.
The Department of Homeland Security should ensure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and Customs and Border Patrol officers receive training in how to recognize, investigate, and report on hate crimes.