Senators ask Holder to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs

A bipartisan group of 17 senators asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderHolder: Snowden performed a 'public service' Aggressive Lynch makes mark at Department of Justice Eric Holder to headline fundraiser for Clinton 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 BlumenthalDems press ITT Tech to give students right to sue Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges MORE (D-Conn.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFight over California drought heats up in Congress Dems see political gold in fight over Trump's taxes Latinos key in Democratic battle for California delegates MORE (D-Calif.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsDems: Warren ready to get off sidelines Dems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees Wildlife crime bill deserves unanimous consent in Congress MORE (D-Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate contradicts itself on Gitmo Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals How airport security lines got so bad MORE (D-Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinFight over California drought heats up in Congress Clinton emails dominate Sunday shows Feinstein: 'Enough is enough' on Clinton's email controversy MORE (D-Calif.), Al FrankenAl FrankenDems press ITT Tech to give students right to sue Consumer internet privacy: Leaving the back door unlocked Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (D-Minn.), John KerryJohn KerryFive things Clinton needs to do to win the California primary An all-female ticket? Not in 2016 GOP senator calls for China to crack down on illegal opioid MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz Defense bill renews fight over military sexual assault MORE (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise MORE (D-Vt.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezDems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees Lobbying World This week: GOP lawmakers reckon with Trump MORE (D-N.J.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSchumer touts policy victories over Obama administration Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Overnight Healthcare: House, Senate on collision course over Zika funding MORE (D-N.Y.), Tom UdallTom UdallHonor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids House, Senate roll out chemical safety compromise Overnight Energy: Lawmakers closing in on chemical safety deal MORE (D-N.M.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Honor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids MORE (D-R.I.).

Two Republicans, Scott Brown (Mass.) and Mark KirkMark KirkFunding boost for TSA sails through committee GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo VA chief 'deeply' regrets if Disney comment offended vets 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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