FBI Reports Depressing Jump in Violent Hate Crimes, Spiking to a 16-Year High
The good news first. The total number of hate crimes dropped very slightly last year: from 7,175 incidents in 2017 to 7,120 in 2018. That’s according to data the FBI aggregated from 16,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. But the bad news is significantly worse. That total number of hate crimes also covers nonviolent crime, like property damage. The number of violent hate crimes, ones committed against people, jumped by 12 percent to 4,571, the highest number in 16 years.
The FBI reports that while attacks against African Americans, Muslims, and Arab Americans decreased slightly, violence against Latinos and transgender people, two groups regularly targeted by the Trump administration, spiked sharply. Commenting on the FBI data, Brian Levin, the director for the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, told the Guardian, “We are going through a presidential election and an impeachment… We expect to see a spike in hate crimes and violent political confrontations.”
Trump famously launched his presidential campaign in 2015 by saying of Mexican immigrants, “They’re rapists.” As president, his rhetoric and official policies around immigrants and Latinos has been no less racist. His administration has fought tooth and nail to restrict immigration and refugee acceptance rates as much as possible, and even created the Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement, a federal office dedicated almost exclusively to publicizing reports of crimes committed by immigrants. Many of those policies came on the advisement from Trump’s advisor Stephen Miller, a notorious white nationalist whose racist private emails were made public on Tuesday. In them, he encouraged Breitbart editors to read white nationalist literature, including the anti-immigrant novel Camp of the Saints and the explicitly racist and anti-immigrant website VDARE.
Meanwhile, Trump and his reelection campaign have repeatedly claimed that immigrants are a violent threat despite the fact that, regardless of their legal status, immigrants are less likely to break the law than native-born citizens. His campaign ran more than 2,000 Facebook ads using the word “invasion,” rhetoric repeated by the white supremacist gunman who killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas, in an attempt to terrorize Mexicans in the U.S. Also Tuesday, as the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, Trump tweeted, “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals.” This is fundamentally inaccurate: no one with a criminal history is eligible for DACA.
The Trump administration’s stance toward transgender people is no better. Calling transgender people “a burden,” Trump has banned them from joining the military, despite the fact that transgender people are twice as likely to serve as cisgender people are. His Department of Justice has argued that civil rights protections don’t apply to transgender people, and the Department of Health and Human Services has attempted to rewrite Title IX to define sex as solely determined by a person’s genitals at birth, essentially claiming that there’s no such thing as being transgender.
The FBI won’t have a full report on crime stats for 2019 available until next year, but there have been high-profile instances of violent hate crimes. Early in November, a U.S. citizen originally from Peru was assaulted by a man who threw battery acid in his face and told him to “go back” to his country. And by September, the number of transgender murders is high enough for the American Medical Association to declare it “an epidemic.”
Source : Luke Darby Link