Durbin Questions Justice Department In Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Rise Of Hate Crimes

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled, “Combating the Rise in Hate Crimes.” This hearing includes the first DOJ testimony on hate crimes since the January 15 synagogue attack in Colleyville, Texas, and the recent wave of bomb threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Durbin questioned Clarke on the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act and the actions the DOJ is taking to combat white supremacy.  


“The scourge of white supremacist terror persists to this day. Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies have repeatedly warned that violent white supremacists pose the most lethal domestic terror threat...We know the FBI’s data is deeply flawed because the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that there are on average nearly 250,000 hate crimes annually in the United States. Last year, Congress enacted the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which was designed to provide more resources to law enforcement agencies to improve data collection and reporting. Is it getting better [reporting]? Can we expect any results that show we paid attention to the new law? What actions are being taken against white supremacy groups?” Durbin asked.


“We’re working to ensure our local and state law enforcements are doing a better job at capturing data – [this] is one of our top priorities at the Justice Department. We are working to provide guidance and working to shine a light on this issue. We know that accurate data is critical to ensuring that we are deploying resources to the right places, critical to identifying hot spots, critical to preventing violent hate crimes from happening – this is one of our top priorities. In terms of our current day efforts, to counter white supremacy, this is also a top priority for the Civil Rights Division,” said Assistant AG Clarke.  


Clarke confirmed that the Civil Rights Division is committed to using the tools Congress provided to combat threats.  


Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.


Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.


Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.


Other witnesses at today’s hearing include Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas; Maya Berry, co-chair of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Hate Crimes Task Force and Executive Director, Arab American Institute; Detective Orlando Martinez, Los Angeles Police Department Hate Crimes Task Force Coordinator; Dr. Walter Kimbrough, President, Dillard University; and Elan Carr, former President Trump’s Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism.