Response of Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.)


Senator from Illinois. He has served 27 years in the Senate.

The Questions

  1. Are hate crimes a problem in your state?
  2. Should Congress do something about hate crimes and white supremacist violence in your state? If so, what specifically?

The Response

“Hate crimes are a serious problem in Illinois, and public officials have an obligation to condemn racism in all its forms. Law enforcement and communities need to be proactive in working to prevent hate crimes and ensure that they are reported and investigated when they occur. Leader McConnell should allow a vote on my Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which is the only legislation pending in the Senate to address the domestic terrorism threat.” From an aide: "Devastatingly, hate crimes and white supremacist violence are on the rise in the United States. According to a May 2017 intelligence bulletin by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), white supremacist extremism poses a persistent threat of lethal violence, and white supremacists were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016—more than any other domestic extremist movement. Sen. Durbin is the lead sponsor of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would enhance the federal government’s efforts to prevent domestic terrorism by requiring federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess this threat and provide training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement in addressing it. Congress should immediately pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which is the only legislation pending in the Senate to address the domestic terrorism threat. In May, Senator Durbin led a group of his colleagues in calling out the Trump Administration for shifting its approach to tracking domestic terrorism incidents to obfuscate the white supremacist threat. In a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Senators noted that, for the past decade, the FBI used a separate category to track white supremacist incidents. The Administration has now created a new category for “racially-motivated violent extremism,” which inappropriately combines incidents involving white supremacists and so-called “Black identity extremists.” Senator Durbin still has not received a response to his letter. In 2012, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, Durbin held a hearing on the threat of violent right-wing extremism after a white supremacist murdered six worshippers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Officials from DOJ, DHS, and FBI testified about the serious threat posed by violent domestic extremists."

  • Date July 19, 2019
  • Reporter Josh McGhee of The Chicago Reporter
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