Senators ask Holder to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs

A bipartisan group of 17 senators asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Trail 2016: Smelling victory TMZ: Unreleased video convinced prosecutors to forego charges against Lewandowski 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.

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"Until we have a more comprehensive understanding of the number and type of hate crimes committed against Sikhs, our law enforcement agencies will not be able to allocate the appropriate level of personnel and other resources to prevent and respond to these crimes," they added. "We urge you to take prompt action to ensure that hate crimes against Sikhs are recorded and tracked."

The letter was signed by 15 Democrats: Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Supreme Court wrestles with corruption law Lawmaker calls for probe into 'unusual' Amazon cruise deaths MORE (D-Conn.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCruz fouls out in Indiana Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Senate panel backs B water bill with Flint aid MORE (D-Calif.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Investments in research and development are investments in American jobs House clears trade secrets bill for Obama's signature MORE (D-Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinLobbying World Judiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Elizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth MORE (D-Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Intel leaders push controversial encryption draft Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment MORE (D-Calif.), Al FrankenAl FrankenJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Senate passes resolution honoring Prince Senators aim to bolster active shooter training MORE (D-Minn.), John KerryJohn KerryPeace equality and stability for religious minorities Kerry hopes to salvage frayed Syrian peace Dems want oversight after 4 arrested for Honduran activist’s murder MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAdvocacy group seeks probe into DOD statements on sexual assault Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony This week: Congress on track to miss Puerto Rico deadline MORE (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Overnight Cybersecurity: Voter data breaches spark fraud concerns Overnight Regulation: FDA campaign targets smoking in LGBT community MORE (D-Vt.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSenate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Senate close to voting on Mexico ambassador MORE (D-N.J.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerRyan goes all-in on Puerto Rico Cruz's dad: Trump 'would be worse than Hillary Clinton' With Ryan’s blessing, lawmakers press ahead with tax reform talks MORE (D-N.Y.), Tom UdallTom UdallSurprise resignation threatens to hobble privacy watchdog Dem bill cracks down on payday lenders Menendez wants vote on ambassador to Mexico MORE (D-N.M.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Senate looks for easy wins amid 2016 gridlock Portman focuses on drug abuse epidemic in new ad MORE (D-R.I.).

Two Republicans, Scott Brown (Mass.) and Mark KirkMark KirkDemocrats race to link GOP incumbents to Trump Trump ticket looms over vulnerable GOP senators Elizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth 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.

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