A bipartisan group of 17 senators asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderTop Dem signals likely opposition to Sessions nomination Instead of 'hope and change' Obama gave progressives Trump Republicans want to grease tracks for Trump MORE on Thursday to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikh-Americans in the wake of this month's attack in Wisconsin that killed six and wounded four people at a Sikh temple.
Their letter to Holder argued that while the Hate Crime Statistics Act requires the Justice Department to track religious crimes against people of other religions on incident report forms, it does not require any tracking of crimes against Sikhs.
"That form allows a law enforcement officer to denote that a crime was motivated by a bias against Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, or atheists, among others," they wrote. "The form does not allow an officer to denote that a crime was motivated by a bias against Sikhs.
The letter was signed by 15 Democrats: Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Tech: AT&T, Time Warner CEOs defend merger before Congress | More tech execs join Trump team | Republican details path to undoing net neutrality Overnight Energy: Trump taps EPA foe to head agency | Energy reform bill officially dead CNN’s parent company promises to defend journalistic independence MORE (D-Conn.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFight over water bill heats up in Senate Dem senator tears up in farewell speech Overnight Energy: Senate Dems set to fight water bill MORE (D-Calif.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report Trump gets chance to remake the courts MORE (D-Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinReid defends McConnell in farewell speech Depleted Dems look to Senate for 2020 nominee Dem senator threatens to slow-walk spending bill MORE (D-Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDems fear Trump undermining US stature Dems push for panel to probe Russian interference in election Overnight Energy: Senate Dems set to fight water bill MORE (D-Calif.), Al FrankenAl FrankenOvernight Tech: AT&T, Time Warner CEOs defend merger before Congress | More tech execs join Trump team | Republican details path to undoing net neutrality Lawmakers grill AT&T, Time Warner execs on B merger Dems press Trump to keep Obama overtime rule MORE (D-Minn.), John KerryJohn KerryDepleted Dems look to Senate for 2020 nominee Voters want to drain the swamp? They can start with Louisiana GOP As Congress adjusts to Trump, Iran put under the pressure it deserves MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDepleted Dems look to Senate for 2020 nominee Confirm Gary Richard Brown for the Eastern District of New York GOP shouldn't play politics with Mattis pick MORE (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report Passing US-Canada preclearance would improve security and economy MORE (D-Vt.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezThe right person for State Department is Rudy Giuliani Warren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (D-N.J.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDems see ’18 upside in ObamaCare repeal Confirm Gary Richard Brown for the Eastern District of New York Voters want to drain the swamp? They can start with Louisiana GOP MORE (D-N.Y.), Tom UdallTom UdallTom Udall eyes NM governor bid Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Tensions rise over judicial nominees MORE (D-N.M.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGOP wants to move fast on Sessions Dem senator backing Sessions for attorney general Dems pledge to fight Sessions nomination MORE (D-R.I.).
Two Republicans, Scott Brown (Mass.) and Mark KirkMark KirkJuan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (Ill.), also signed the letter.
The letter said the Aug. 5 shooting in Wisconsin is just "the latest hate crime" against Sikhs, and noted several other incidents against Sikhs over the last two years. It also noted a recent survey of more than 1,000 Sikhs in California, in which 10 percent of those surveyed reported that they have been victims of a hate crime.