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‘Rise in hate’ came with Trump, Dems demand hearing

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Muslim women walk along Coney Island Avenue on October 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by AFP)

Democratic lawmakers in the US House of Representatives are calling for a hearing on hate crimes in the United States amid an uptick in violence in the backdrop of a decisive rhetoric by US President Donald Trump.

The top democrats did not shy away from Trump’s role in boosting hatred in their letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatt, Politico reported.

“It's no secret that the rise in hate crimes has tracked with the campaign of the president,” they wrote to the Virginia Republican.

Spearheaded by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York, the letter was also signed by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.

It added that the US president’s “stated support for the use of violence as well as sympathy for white supremacist groups has created an atmosphere of dread within all too many American communities.”

It was also signed by Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu of California and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin among others.

‘Tip of the iceberg’

Since campaigning for the 2016 presidential election, Trump has been accused of stoking racial, ethnic and religious tensions lurking within America.

“Given this disturbing new reality, we urge the committee to convene immediate hearings to address the rise of hate crimes, the need to bridge the data gap, and steps that lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and our communities can take to prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place,” the Democrats wrote.

The letter was written in the wake of an FBI report on hatred in the US.

Compared with 7,173 documented victims in 2015, the FBI reported 7,615 hate crime victims for 2016, figures the Democrats said do not necessarily reflect the reality.

“These figures likely represent the tip of the iceberg because FBI hate crime data are based on voluntary reports by law enforcement agencies,” read the letter. “Under-reporting of this magnitude likely paints an inaccurate picture of the problem and hampers our efforts to address it.”


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