Specifically, the 25 Democratic senators are asking the Trump administration to prioritize funding for the DOJ’s Community Relations Service and Civil Rights Division, and “reaffirm the Department’s commitment to work with state and local officials in prosecuting hate crimes,” Buzzfeed reported the letter as saying.
“They are scared,” the lawmakers wrote of minority communities, “and it is incumbent upon you as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer to demonstrate to them and all Americans that discrimination and violence against any individual because of who they are, how they worship, or who they love will not be tolerated in our country.”
Similarly, the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council issued a statement on Wednesday asking Trump to instruct AG Sessions to “prioritize investigation and prosecution of hate crimes” and ensure that funding for the Civil Rights Division is strengthened in the administration’s 2017 budget submission to Congress.”
Historically, Sessions, who formally served as a U.S. senator, was a vocal opponent of federal hate crime statutes and argued in 2009 against extending protections to include LGBTQ people.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) earlier this week sent a separate letter to the AG specifically asking him to investigate the recent desecration of the historic Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote: “While local law enforcement is working hard to identify the perpetrators, it is evident that a federal hate crime investigation is warranted due to the dark history of anti-Semitic attacks of this nature, both here and abroad, and the symbolic message it sends to the Jewish community all over the world.”
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