Senators ask Holder to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs

A bipartisan group of 17 senators asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderAirbnb hires Eric Holder to develop anti-discrimination policy New Guccifer 2.0 dump highlights ‘wobbly Dems’ on Iran deal GOP rips into Lynch, who refuses to discuss details in Clinton case 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 BlumenthalSenate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Congress sends first major opioid bill to Obama's desk Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle MORE (D-Conn.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDem suggests race factored into Obama Senate endorsement Obama, Biden back Kamala Harris in Calif. Senate race Tim Scott says he was targeted by Capitol Police MORE (D-Calif.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsSenators ask IRS to issue guidance to help startups Senate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Overnight Tech: First on The Hill – Key senators team up against robocalls | Social media giants back revenge porn bill | Facebook's diversity numbers MORE (D-Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinOpioid package clears key Senate hurdle Overnight Healthcare: Feds defend ObamaCare's affordability DNC chief spared in Sanders-Clinton talks: report MORE (D-Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinHotel lobby cheers scrutiny on Airbnb GOP platform attempts middle ground on encryption debate Week ahead: Encryption fight poised to heat up MORE (D-Calif.), Al FrankenAl FrankenWhy Kaine is the right choice for Clinton Liberals press Clinton not to pick Kaine for VP Franken: Convention 'ugliest' I've seen MORE (D-Minn.), John KerryJohn KerryPower restored at Turkish air base used in anti-ISIS fight Don't expect much of a post-convention bounce for Trump or Clinton Kerry: Power at Turkish air base to be restored shortly MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTexas rep uses Snapchat to prompt border control discussions GOP probes EPA response to NY state water contamination Dems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary MORE (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyNBA pulls All-Star Game from NC over bathroom law When America denies citizenship to servicemembers Criminal sentencing bill tests McConnell-Grassley relationship MORE (D-Vt.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezGMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections Overnight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Menendez rails against Puerto Rico bill for 4 hours on floor MORE (D-N.J.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerThe Trail 2016: Unity at last This week: Congress eyes the exits in dash to recess Former Gillibrand aide wins NY House primary MORE (D-N.Y.), Tom UdallTom UdallThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Energy: Senate spending bill takes aim at EPA rules Senate spending bill trims EPA spending, blocks regs MORE (D-N.M.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseWhy Kaine is the right choice for Clinton Report: More, stronger cyber attacks to flood networks Senate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency MORE (D-R.I.).

Two Republicans, Scott Brown (Mass.) and Mark KirkMark KirkNBA pulls All-Star Game from NC over bathroom law GOP groups scale back support for Sen. Johnson Top GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races 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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