Senators ask Holder to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs

A bipartisan group of 17 senators asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderRacial undercurrents inflame Uber fight over background checks Chaffetz seeks to hold Obama official in contempt over water rule Eric Holder goes to bat for Uber 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 BlumenthalElizabeth Warren joins House Dems' sit-in Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to push for gun vote Dems blast Republicans after failed gun votes MORE (D-Conn.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerSenate honors Cleveland Cavs' NBA championship California’s last nuclear plant slated to close Senate rejects gun control background check measures MORE (D-Calif.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsOvernight Defense: GOP blasts latest Gitmo transfer | Boeing defends Iran Air deal Key Dem: US-Iran relations may get worse before they get better The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game Dems: Immigration decision will 'energize' Hispanic voters Senate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling MORE (D-Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinPost Orlando, hawks make a power play Ryan: No plans to vote on Democratic gun bills after sit-in Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers MORE (D-Calif.), Al FrankenAl FrankenAl Franken says he would be Clinton's vice president if asked Poll: Sanders, Rubio most popular VP picks Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate MORE (D-Minn.), John KerryJohn KerryDozens of Clinton meetings left off State schedule: report Overnight Cybersecurity: Sit-in disrupts cyber hearings | Trump tries to defend claim Clinton was hacked Kerry backs government access to encrypted data MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders shares star power with NY House hopeful Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Protecting living organ donors' rights MORE (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senate heads toward internet surveillance fight MORE (D-Vt.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezOvernight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers Senate narrowly rejects new FBI surveillance Kaine, Murphy push extension of Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerThis week: Senate showdown over gun control Dems push vulnerable GOP senators on gun control Senate schedules Monday votes on gun control 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 WhitehouseThe Hill's 12:30 Report Hacked computer network mysteriously back online Marketplace for hacked-server sales may be much bigger than reported MORE (D-R.I.).

Two Republicans, Scott Brown (Mass.) and Mark KirkMark KirkThe Trail 2016: Berning embers Senate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote 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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