Senators ask Holder to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs

A bipartisan group of 17 senators asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderAirbnb celebrates voting rights bill while confronting discrimination allegations Holder: Trump 'a very shallow man' Mothers of the Movement: Hillary ‘isn’t afraid to say Black Lives Matter’ 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 BlumenthalAirlines brace for boost in travel volumes over Labor Day Will Obama protect the Atlantic’s Grand Canyons? Dems push airlines on IT systems amid technical glitches MORE (D-Conn.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFeds weigh whether carbon pollution should be measured in highway performance Juan Williams: Dems should not take Latinos for granted Reid faces Sanders supporters' fury at DNC MORE (D-Calif.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsDEA decision against reclassifying marijuana ignores public opinion Dems ask Cruz to hold hearing on Trump's Russian hacking remarks Top Dem: ‘I don't believe for a minute’ Trump was joking about Russia MORE (D-Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinDem wants hearing on EpiPen price hikes Legislators privacy fight coincides with FCC complaint Syria activists cheer Kaine pick MORE (D-Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinCelebrating the contributions of the National Park Service at its centennial France, Germany push for encryption limits Lochte apologizes for behavior in Rio MORE (D-Calif.), Al FrankenAl FrankenLiberal hypocrisy on the free exchange of ideas Winners and losers of the Dem convention Party unity overcomes chaos...and the Bernie-or-Bust crowd MORE (D-Minn.), John KerryJohn KerryTop Republican presses Kerry for Iran 'ransom' details US to provide 8M in aid to South Sudan amid humanitarian crisis Trump effect spills into Pennsylvania Senate race MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMoving beyond minimal: Fighting for paid family and medical leave McAuliffe: I wouldn't want a 'caretaker' in Kaine's Senate seat Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense MORE (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySanders, liberals press Obama to expand closure of private prisons Police union: Clinton snubbed us Congress saving the past for the future MORE (D-Vt.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezPuerto Rico task force asks for help in charting island's economic course Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense GMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections MORE (D-N.J.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerRubio primary challenger loans campaign M Is Trump deliberately throwing the election to Clinton? Why Khizr Khan needs a Democrat in the White House MORE (D-N.Y.), Tom UdallTom UdallDem senators back Navajo lawsuit against EPA Democratic National Convention event calendar The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-N.M.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseBanking association backs financial transparency bill Shift in care could reverse the opioid epidemic Dems ask Cruz to hold hearing on Trump's Russian hacking remarks MORE (D-R.I.).

Two Republicans, Scott Brown (Mass.) and Mark KirkMark KirkThe Trail 2016: Focus on the Foundation White House: 0M Iran payment wasn’t ransom GOP senator to hold Iran payment hearing 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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