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Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence

blank - Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence

Residence Democrats on Thursday pressed the FBI and Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) to beef up their approaches to fight the risk of violence motivated by white supremacist extremism after the shooting in El Paso, Texas, this month.

In letters to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Acting Homeland Safety Secretary Kevin McAleenan, 65 Residence Democrats accused the Trump administration of withholding data from Congress about domestic terrorism committed by alleged white supremacists in current many years and not providing the difficulty ample priority.

“The deadly events in El Paso, TX, Pittsburgh, PA, Poway, CA, Jeffersontown, KY, Charlottesville, VA, Charleston, SC, and elsewhere make it clear that this white nationalist extremist violence is a growing threat to people in every part of the United States,” the lawmakers wrote in the letters, which have been spearheaded by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

They cited a report from Yahoo News earlier this month discovering that a government document that was distributed during federal agencies — but not to Congress, in spite of Democratic senators’ requests — identified that alleged white supremacists have been behind all race-based mostly domestic terrorism incidents in 2018. 

CNN reported earlier this month that White Residence officials rebuffed efforts by DHS to make combating domestic terror threats, together with from white supremacists, a greater priority.

“Taken together, these developments give the strong impression that the Trump Administration may be endangering American lives by politicizing law enforcement and interfering with the operation of the agencies you lead,” the lawmakers wrote. 

The El Paso shooter allegedly sought to target Mexicans at a Walmart close to the U.S.-Mexico border and published an anti-immigrant manifesto decrying a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” A complete of 22 people today have been killed in the shooting when dozens a lot more have been injured.

Wray explained in testimony ahead of Congress in July that the bulk of the agency’s terrorism-relevant arrests given that final fall were tied to white supremacy. Lawmakers pointed to his remarks in the wake of the El Paso shooting, saying federal authorities really should place a greater emphasis on tackling white supremacist extremism.

Lawmakers on Thursday asked the FBI and DHS to react by Sept. 21 as to irrespective of whether requests for assets to battle domestic terrorism had been denied or delayed by the White Residence whether the agencies intended to modify spending budget and staffing to tackle white supremacist and domestic terror threats and what other measures they planned to fight white supremacist threats.

Earlier this month, a group of Residence Democrats led by Rep. (N.J.) termed on Speaker (D-Calif.) and Senate Bulk Leader (R-Ky.) to lower the monthlong August recess quick to get up legislation to tackle white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

They pointed to expenses this kind of as the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, authored by Rep. (D-Unwell.) in the Residence, which would increase units inside the Departments of Justice and Homeland Safety accountable for addressing domestic terrorism inspired by white supremacist ideology as nicely as the NO Dislike Act, authored by Beyer, which would assistance make improvements to reporting of detest crimes by authorizing grants to make state-run hotlines to record data about detest crimes.

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