Washington –Congressman José E. Serrano highlighted the preliminary conclusions of a study by the Justice Department, which showed that hate crimes against Latinos have been rising over the past several years. Serrano inserted language requiring the Department of Justice to perform the study in a fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill. Serrano called the preliminary findings “deeply troubling” and “a call to action.”
The study briefing and preliminary findings can be found here:http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/hate-crime/immigrants-hispanics.htm
“The Justice Department study which I asked be carried out has a very disturbing message: Latinos are increasingly under violent attack in our nation,” said Serrano. “Anecdotally, while we have known that this was going on, this study quantifies and proves that we have a big problem on our hands. We also know that a great number of these sorts of crimes go unreported, so I am sure that this report only is scratching the surface of this problem.
“As members of our community have begun to live in places where traditionally we have not lived, we are encountering violence. This is unacceptable. But perhaps more unacceptable is the finding that this increasing trend is most apparent in states where Latinos already make up a large percentage of the population, like California and Texas.
“Our legislatures, law enforcement agencies and Congress must step up and take clear, bold steps to put an end to this violence. There cannot be a silent acceptance of these types of hate crimes and they must be aggressively prosecuted. Latinos, like other minority groups, deserve to live free of fear and persecution in our nation. Whether they are here with or without documents, we must protect them from attacks—wherever they live.
“Part of our national heritage is our tradition of welcoming the newly arrived, and ensuring that they can thrive wherever they settle in our nation. We must continue to uphold that tradition and act swiftly to stamp out violence against any one group.”
The researchers performing the study recently presented preliminary findings on the first phase of the study to the National Institute of Justice. The report focused on four states: California, Texas, New Jersey, and Michigan. The researchers plan to conduct a second stage of the study, consisting of fieldwork and further surveys in four original states, and also in Arizona.