Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – As our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, and 26 of their Senate colleagues in a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to automatically extend work authorizations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants.

More than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identifies as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.”  TPS recipients, like DACA recipients, are vital contributors to our economy and health care workforce, with more than 130,000 TPS holders serving as “essential critical infrastructure workers.”

“This simple measure, which is well within your executive authority, will save American lives and avoid further disruptions to our economy,” the Senators wrote.  “By contrast, going ahead with your Administration’s efforts to deport more than a million DACA and TPS recipients would be needlessly cruel and greatly weaken our nation’s essential workforce.”

An estimated 41,700 DACA recipients and approximately 11,600 TPS recipients work in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians.  Additionally, an estimated 14,900 DACA recipients are teachers, many of whom are distance educating American children during the pandemic.

With U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices closed to the public, and many USCIS services suspended, it is likely that Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for many immigrants will expire.  EAD renewals are already backlogged and additional processing delays are inevitable due to COVID-19 disruptions.  Additionally, with hundreds of millions of Americans under stay-at-home orders, and hundreds of thousands infected with COVID-19, it will be difficult for many immigrants to collect the required information and submit renewal applications and fees within the required timeframe.

Along with Sens. Warner and Durbin, today’s letter is also signed by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV). 

 

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

 April 15, 2020

Dear President Trump: 

As our nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly urge your Administration to automatically extend work authorizations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants.  This simple measure, which is well within your executive authority, will save American lives and avoid further disruptions to our economy.  By contrast, going ahead with your Administration’s efforts to deport more than a million DACA and TPS recipients would be needlessly cruel and greatly weaken our nation’s essential workforce. 

DACA provides temporary relief from deportation to immigrants who arrived in the United States as children if they register with the government, pay a fee, and clear criminal and national-security background checks.  These young people, known as Dreamers, are American in every way except for their immigration status.  More than 800,000 Dreamers have come forward and received DACA, which has allowed them to contribute more fully to their country and their communities in myriad ways.  More than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas the Department of Homeland Security identifies as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.”  An estimated 41,700 DACA recipients work in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians.  Additionally, an estimated 14,900 DACA recipients are teachers, many of whom are distance educating American children during the pandemic.

TPS currently provides safety in the United States to approximately 411,000 people from 10 countries, the majority of whom have lived in the United States for more than two decades.  Like DACA recipients, TPS recipients must register with the government, pay a fee, and clear criminal and national-security background checks.  Collectively, more than 90 percent of TPS recipients are nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, three of the six countries for which your Administration has attempted to terminate TPS.  TPS recipients, like DACA recipients, are vital contributors to our economy and healthcare workforce.  More than 130,000 TPS holders are “essential critical infrastructure workers,” including 11,600 health care workers.

With U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices closed to the public, and many USCIS services suspended, it is likely that Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for many immigrants will expire.  USCIS’s recent decision to process renewals using previously submitted biometrics means that EAD renewals can be adjudicated without a new biometric appointment. However, EAD renewals are already backlogged and additional processing delays are inevitable due to COVID-19 disruptions.  Additionally, with hundreds of millions of Americans under stay-at-home orders, and hundreds of thousands infected with COVID-19, it will be difficult for many immigrants to collect the required information and submit renewal applications and fees within the required timeframe.

Your Administration can immediately ease burdens for thousands of American families, and prevent further, unnecessary economic disruptions during this public health emergency by automatically extending employment authorizations for DACA and TPS recipients and other impacted immigrants.  As Jesus Contreras, a DACA recipient paramedic in Houston who is on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, says, “We’re not only going to have to worry about this pandemic, but we’re going to have to worry about our immigration status and deportation.”  Similarly, Aldo Martinez, a DACA recipient paramedic in Fort Myers, Florida who is responding to calls from COVID-19 patients, says that losing work authorization would “create more chaos in an already chaotic situation.”  Dr. Manuel Bernal Mejia, a resident in the emergency room at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago, says DACA is “letting me treat and care for patients that are facing this deathly pandemic right now.… If you take away DACA. . . it is at least one doctor less to take care of a patient who is critically ill with this virus.”

You can order DHS to immediately ensure that Jesus, Aldo, Manuel, and hundreds of thousands of others in our essential workforce are not forced to stop working when the need for their services has never been greater.  We urge you to prioritize our nation’s health, safety, and economic wellbeing as we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,    

###

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren to introduce the bicameral Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect and report racial and other demographic data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and fatality rates, and provide a summary of the final statistics and a report to Congress within 60 days after the end of the public health emergency. It would require HHS to use all available surveillance systems to post daily updates on the CDC website showing data on testing, treatment, and fatalities, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, sex, age, socioeconomic status, disability status, county, and other demographic information. 

The legislation comes as reports across the United States point to stark racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and fatalities. In Michigan, Black residents account for 33% of confirmed COVID cases and 40% of fatalities, despite making up only 14% of the state’s population.  In Louisiana, 70% of those who have died from COVID-19 so far are Black, compared with 32% of the state’s population. Initial data from Boston shows that among people whose race was reported, more than 40% of people infected were Black, compared with only 25% of the population.

“It’s deeply troubling that the coronavirus is disproportionately impacting communities of color. It’s imperative that we get data to help us understand the scope of this crisis and take action to reduce racial disparities,” the Senators said.

Specifically, the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act would require the reporting of the following data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, sex, age, socioeconomic status, disability status, county, and other demographic information:

  • Data related to COVID-19 testing, including the number of individuals tested and the number of tests that were positive.
  • Data related to treatment for COVID-19, including hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions and duration;
  • Data related to COVID-19 outcomes, including fatalities.

The legislation would also authorize $50 million in funding for the CDC, state public health agencies, the Indian Health Service, and other agencies to improve their data collection infrastructure and create an inter-agency commission to make recommendations on improving data collection and transparency and responding equitably to this crisis. 

The Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act is endorsed by the National Urban League, Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and National Action Network. In the House, the legislation is being introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37), Representative Barbara Lee (D- CA-13), and is co-sponsored by 80 of their colleagues. 

Warner and Kaine also joined their colleagues in sending a letter to Vice President Pence regarding the racial health disparities among COVID-19 patients. The letter highlights racial disparities in the mortality rate of the virus, calls for disaggregated racial data in COVID-19 case reporting, asks the Administration for more information on its outreach to minority communities, and requests that COVID-19 vaccine and drug trials include diverse participants. 

###

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) expressed concern with increasing reports of harassment and violence against Asian Americans following the outbreak of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who has been tapped by the President to spearhead the nation’s response to the coronavirus, Sen. Warner requested that the coronavirus taskforce help prevent race-based attacks by dismissing discriminatory narratives and only distributing accurate information about the virus. 

“I encourage you, your coronavirus task force, and members of the Administration to share only confirmed and verifiable information about COVID-19 and dispel misinformation or discriminatory rhetoric to help prevent suspicion, panic, and race-based assaults,” wrote Sen. Warner. “Referring to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a ‘foreign virus’ that ‘started in China’ spreads xenophobia and racism, which is especially concerning as we experience a rise of domestic terrorism right here at home.”

In the letter, Sen. Warner urged the Administration to counter the narrative around COVID-19 to ensure that Americans are not made vulnerable to race-based attacks or harassment as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, nearly seven percent, or more than 597,000 Virginians, identify as Asian or Pacific Islander.

A copy of the letter is available here and below. A list of Sen. Warner’s work on coronavirus is available here.

 

The Honorable Michael R. Pence

Vice President of the United States of America

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Vice President Pence:

I am deeply concerned about increasing reports of verbal harassment and violent attacks against Americans of Asian descent across the country since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). I encourage you, your coronavirus task force, and members of the Administration to share only confirmed and verifiable information about COVID-19 and dispel misinformation or discriminatory rhetoric to help prevent suspicion, panic, and race-based assaults. 

Referring to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a “foreign virus” that “started in China” spreads xenophobia and racism, which is especially concerning as we experience a rise of domestic terrorism right here at home.  

We request your help to counter this narrative and help ensure Americans are not vulnerable to any kind of race-based attack or harassment as a result of this outbreak, which has been a disturbing byproduct of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Thank you for your attention to this request and I look forward to your response.

 ###

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Caucus, celebrated the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act, which would restore $255 million in federal funding for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) that expired on September 30.

Virginia is home to Virginia Union University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Hampton University, and Virginia University of Lynchburg – all of which stand to lose resources and face continued uncertainty if the funding is not extended.

“I’m glad the Senate was able to put partisanship aside and keep our commitment to these important institutions of higher education,” said Sen. Warner. “This is an investment in our students, which represented nearly $4 million for Virginia’s HBCUs last year, and I’m hopeful the House will swiftly get this legislation to the President’s desk.”

“Today, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the FUTURE Act that will extend mandatory Title III funding for ten years. For Norfolk State University, this represents more than $5.8 million in federal funding for our teacher preparation and STEM programs,” said Norfolk State University (NSU) President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston. “NSU expresses appreciation to Senators Tim Kaine, Mark Warner and Congressman Bobby Scott for standing with Virginia’s HBCUs, and urges the members of the House of Representatives to pass this legislation and send it to the President’s desk without delay.”

Last month, Sen. Warner joined more than three dozen Senators in a letter to Senate leaders calling for passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act to renew this vital funding for Virginia’s HBCUs. Sen. Warner also spoke last month on the Senate floor, as well as at a press conference with HBCU students and advocates, in support of the FUTURE Act.

In the mid-1990s, as a successful tech entrepreneur, Warner – who is also a former member of the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union – helped to create the Virginia High-Tech Partnership (VHTP) to connect students attending Virginia’s five HBCUs with internship opportunities in tech firms across the Commonwealth.

###

 

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Caucus, joined Senate colleagues and leaders from HBCUs – including a student from Virginia Union University in Richmond – in calling on the Senate to pass the bipartisan FUTURE Act, which would restore $255 million in federal funding for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) that expired on September 30. While the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the FUTURE Act in September, Senate Republicans have blocked this critical legislation from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

Virginia is home to Virginia Union University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Hampton University, and Virginia University of Lynchburg – all of which stand to lose funding if the Senate fails to act.

“In Virginia, we’re talking about nearly $4 million in funding last year that is at risk unless we pass the FUTURE Act,” said Sen. Warner during today’s press conference. “This is an investment in our students. It’s an investment in the middle class. And it’s time for the federal government to live up its commitment.”

Sen. Warner was also joined today by Jalynn Hodges, a biology major currently serving as the first-ever elected student representative for the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union University (VUU), who underscored how renewing this funding would enable the Virginia Union community to continue to support students who pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“When I arrived at my prestigious HBCU in fall of 2017, I entered the gateway into my future. During my first year, I conducted research in our neuroscience and chemistry laboratory where I learned technical and analytical skills that are essential to my long-term academic and professional goals,” said Jalynn Hodges, biology major at VUU.  “With continued mandatory funding, students and faculty will be afforded access to ever changing equipment and laboratories that are consistent with industry standards. It is because of VUU that I am a better version of myself - one who is confident and assured that resources that have been afforded to me have prepared me for my graduate studies in medicine.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Warner joined more than three dozen Senators in a letter to Senate leaders calling for passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act legislation to renew this vital funding for Virginia’s HBCUs.

“As Virginia’s most affordable 4-year public university, Norfolk State provides access to a quality higher education in a culturally diverse and supportive learning environment. Failure to restore Title III Part F mandatory funding for HBCUs will represent more than a $5.8 million loss for NSU. Without this funding, Norfolk State’s educational programs in both teacher preparation and the STEM fields will be put at risk at a time when we are working to increase diversity in the front of our classrooms, and grow the pipeline of diverse STEM graduates to fill the jobs of the new economy. Norfolk State University expresses appreciation to Senators Warner and Kaine for their leadership on this critical issue, and urges all Senators to join them in securing the future of America’s HBCUs and the students they serve by passing the FUTURE Act,” said Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, President of Norfolk State University.

“Failure to pass the FUTURE Act will have serious consequences for America’s HBCUs, their students, and my peers. Norfolk State University’s supportive and culturally aware learning environment has helped me to grow as a leader and put me on the path to success. I would likely not have had these opportunities at other schools. All students regardless of their socio-economic background deserve access to a quality higher education and the opportunity to realize their full potential. It is time for Congress to stand with the students of America’s HBCUs by voting to pass the FUTURE Act,” said Linei Woodson, President of Norfolk State University’s Student Government Association.  

In the mid-1990s, as a successful tech entrepreneur, Warner – who is also a former member of the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union – helped to create the Virginia High-Tech Partnership (VHTP) to connect students attending Virginia’s five HBCUs with internship opportunities in tech firms across the Commonwealth.

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), members of the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Caucus, today joined 36 of their colleagues in a new push to pass funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs). In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senators called for the immediate passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act, which would reauthorize $255 million in mandatory federal funding for these institutions, which expired on September 30, 2019. The House of Representatives approved the legislation unanimously in September.

“HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are an essential component of America’s higher education and workforce development system,” the Senators wrote. “Given the importance of this funding to hundreds of institutions and millions of students, we request that the Senate delay no longer and take up the bipartisan FUTURE Act immediately to avoid permanent damage to our nation’s historic colleges.”

Virginia is home to five HBCUs whose funding would be preserved by the FUTURE Act. Virginia State University, Norfolk State University, Hampton University, Virginia Union University, and Virginia University of Lynchburg received nearly $4 million in funding last year, which is now at risk unless Congress passes the FUTURE Act.

Sens. Warner and Kaine continue to be longtime advocates of HBCUs. Earlier this year, both Senators supported the permanent reauthorization of the Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which also includes a provision to support the preservation of HBCU campuses that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Last year, Virginia Union, Hampton University, Virginia State, and Virginia University of Lynchburg received grants totaling $2.27 million under the HBCU grant program.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the letter was led by Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and signed by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

A copy of the letter can be found below.

 

November 4, 2019

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

We write today to respectfully request immediate Senate consideration of the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act. This important bipartisan legislation would reauthorize funding for Title III, Part F of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which provides mandatory funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other minority serving-institutions (MSIs). Mandatory funding benefiting these institutions lapsed on September 30, 2019.

HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are an essential component of America’s higher education and workforce development system. MSIs serve nearly 6 million students, accounting for more than one-quarter of all undergraduates across the nation. These institutions enroll a significant share of all students of color. For example, HSIs account for nearly 15 percent of all non-profit colleges and universities, but enroll two-thirds of all Hispanic students. Also, while HBCUs only comprise 8.5 percent of all four-year institutions, they enroll, on average, 24 percent of all black undergraduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree, graduate 26 percent of all black bachelor’s degrees, and graduate 32 percent of STEM degrees earned by black students. The student population across all TCUs is 78 percent American Indian and Alaska Native. Similarly, these schools disproportionately enroll low-income students – more than 75 percent of students at HBCUs and 90 percent of students at TCUs receive Pell Grants, compared to only 32 percent of all students.

Title III, Part F funding is critical to ensuring these institutions are able to best serve their students. This funding is used for an array of purposes across campuses. Many schools use these funds to improve student services and academic programs like counseling, tutoring, mentoring, and STEM and career training programs. Numerous institutions use the funding to perform technology maintenance and expansion in order to provide students with up-to-date technology and vital learning opportunities such as computer labs, research institutes, and educational experiences. Others put the investment toward capital improvements like constructing affordable housing, renovating facilities, and creating learning spaces for students. All told, the Title III, Part F funding is a lifeline for these institutions to strengthen their academic, administrative, and fiscal capacities.

The bipartisan FUTURE Act will allow HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs across the country to keep their doors open and continue to generate more opportunities for their students, disproportionate percentages of whom are for the low-income students and students of color. This funding stream plays a vital role in increasing institutional capacity at MSIs and in generating more opportunities for students of color to attain degrees in STEM fields and secure good-paying jobs, generating a strong economic impact. HBCUs, for example, have created over 134,000 jobs and have produced over $10 billion in gross regional product and a total annual economic impact of nearly $15 billion. 

Unfortunately, funding for this program lapsed due to Senate inaction last month. The House of Representatives passed the FUTURE Act by a voice vote last month. Given the importance of this funding to hundreds of institutions and millions of students, we request that the Senate delay no longer and take up the bipartisan FUTURE Act immediately to avoid permanent damage to our nation’s historic colleges.

Sincerely,

###

WASHINGTON - Today at the U.S. Capitol a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional delegation, leading national advocacy groups, and the families of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara called for swift passage of the NO HATE Act. The NO HATE Act seeks to address the underreporting of hate crimes and improve police response to hate crimes. Jabara and Heyer were both killed by men who were prosecuted for hate crimes, but those murders were not reported by state and local law enforcement to the FBI.

“Until all hate crimes are accurately reported and tracked, and an effective response mounted, lives like Khalid’s and Heather’s will continue to be cut short, and families like ours and Susan’s will continue to live with the pain,” said Victoria and Rami Jabara, sister and brother of Khalid Jabara.

“We need a basic accounting of what is happening with hate crimes, and this bill will go a long way to doing that,” said Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer. “You don't take your child to the doctor or your car to the mechanic without analyzing symptoms, and we don't even know all the symptoms of hate crimes. We don't know how many occur; there are huge gaps as illustrated by Khalid's death and Heather's death not being reported.”

“The loss of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara cannot be undone, but we can honor their lives by passing legislation like the NO HATE Act to help prevent future tragedies,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “When I introduced the NO HATE Act in 2016 we had small a handful of cosponsors and supporting groups behind it; now the bill is much better, it’s bipartisan and bicameral, and the support is much stronger. But the problem of hate and extremist violence has also gotten much worse. We need our colleagues to get behind this bipartisan legislation to help law enforcement track, respond, and prevent hate crimes.”

“Hate crimes shatter lives – they shred people’s sense of trust and wellbeing,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “I admire so much, so deeply the courage and strength of Susan Bro and Rami and Victoria Jabara in being here. Since the deaths of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara, hate crimes continue to take their toll in America. Americans are saying enough is enough. We are going to fight as long and hard as necessary to make sure that hate crimes reporting is improved, that state prosecutions are aided with grants, and that the provisions of our NO HATE Act are fully implemented.”

"When Congressman Beyer asked me to be an original sponsor of the NO HATE Act my answer was an immediate yes. This bill is bipartisan — it has the support of Republicans and Democrats; the hotline it creates will be a lifeline to help those targeted with violence just for being who they are; and the bill allows us to capture important data on hate crimes so we can better stop them before they happen. America was founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our bill is an important step in helping all Americans realize that promise," said Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX).

“We must come together to combat the rise of hate crimes in America,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). “I’m encouraged that the NO HATE Act has bipartisan support in the House, and numerous cosponsors in the Senate, but much more work lies ahead. Events like today’s play an important role in educating lawmakers and the public about the scourge of hate crimes and the need to eradicate them. I thank Susan Bro and all who joined us today in this fight. I’m determined to honor the legacy of Heather Heyer, Khalid Jabara, and the victims of hate crimes everywhere with enactment of the NO HATE Act.”

“All Americans should be able to live in peace in their own communities – regardless of their skin color, how they worship, or where they come from,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA). “That’s why Congress needs to vote on this commonsense bill, which will make it easier to keep an accurate record of hate crimes in this country.”

“The DOJ, the FBI, the nation’s law enforcement agencies, and policy makers all know there is a massive underreporting of hate crimes,” said AAI Executive Director Maya Berry. “It is possible that FBI statistics capture as little as one percent of the hate crimes that occur annually, meaning hundreds of thousands of hate crimes go unreported each year. Behind every missing datapoint is a name, a family, a community. We must say the names, support the families, and elevate the communities of those targeted by hate. Improving our method of hate crime reporting and data collection is the necessary first step. We are indebted to the families of Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, the members of Congress leading this effort, and our civil rights partners. We have collectively worked hard in support of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act because it will get us closer to what Congress set out to do in passing the Hate Crime Statistics Act three decades ago. Now as then, our elected officials—both Democrats and Republicans—must come together to pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act.”

“To fight hate, we must first understand it,” said Anjali Thakur-Mittal, Director, Communities Against Hate Initiative, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “In order to minimize violence against our most vulnerable communities, we must first achieve the reliable collection of accurate data. The bicameral, bipartisan Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act will get us closer to that end by improving our government’s approach to addressing hate. To honor Khalid Jabara, Heather Heyer, and all victims of hate, Congress must pass the Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act now.”

"We have seen an increase in violent hate crimes in this country over the past three years, particularly against LGBTQ people,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs. “This epidemic of fatal violence has led to the deaths of at least 18 trans people of whom have been killed in 2019, nearly all of them Black trans women. It is critical to understand the entire scope of violence and discrimination facing communities across the country. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would promote better data collection on these crimes, giving us a fuller picture of the scope of this problem to help us end the violence. We thank Senators Blumenthal, Warner and Kaine and Representatives  Beyer and Olson for introducing this critical legislation."

“The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer Hate Crime Reporting Act is a crucial step forward in addressing the rise in hate crimes over the last several years,” said Manar Waheed, Senior Legislative and Advocacy Counsel of ACLU. “Khalid and Heather were killed exactly one year apart—Khalid at the hands of someone with a long history of harassment and attacks against him and his family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Heather during the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the summer of 2017. Although their cases were prosecuted as hate crimes, law enforcement did not report either Khalid’s or Heather’s deaths in federal hate crimes statistics, a failure for which there is no greater indication of the need to improve our hate crimes reporting. This bill as an important step towards understanding the scope of this violence and honoring the legacy of those that have been lost. Without an understanding of the problem, we cannot begin to address it or improve the safety of all communities.”

“As religious minorities, as people of faith, and as Americans, Muslims and Jews know that hate is like a fire set in the woods; when one tree is targeted all are in danger of setting ablaze. To extinguish the conflagration of hate crimes in this country each victim must count and all must be counted—the NO HATE Act gets us there,” said Dr. Ari Gordon of AJC and the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.   

Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, and Haifa Jabara, mother of Khalid Jabara recently made the case in the New York Times for passage of this legislation named after their children. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act would help close enormous gaps in hate crime statistics and improve the response to hate crimes by local, state, and federal law enforcement.

###

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. and the 94 Members of the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Caucus announced the start of the National HBCU Braintrust (Braintrust).  The Braintrust, which is hosted during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference (ALC CBCF), welcomes its inaugural student cohort and features the first-ever HBCU Innovation House.  Wells Fargo, AnitaB.org and American Airlines will power this three-day conference dedicated to celebrating the power and potential of Black innovation through substantive dialogues, powerful networking and scholarship presentations. The entire agenda is listed below.

“As the Chair and Founder of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, I am proud to serve as the honorary chair of the National HBCU Braintrust and to welcome their inaugural student cohort to participate this year's conference,” said Congresswoman Alma S. Adams. “This year’s Braintrust celebrates the power and potential of Black innovation by highlighting the role that HBCUs can play in addressing the diversity crisis in venture capital (VC). Despite the fact that there are more than 5,300 collegiate institutions across the US, nearly 40% of VC is awarded to graduates of two institutions. Neither is an HBCU.  Talent exists everywhere, but opportunity does not. HBCUs produce 42% of Black engineers, 47% of Black women engineers, and it is estimated that nearly 50% of all Black professionals attended an HBCU. The Braintrust is three days of dialogues, networking and scholarship giving geared towards helping HBCUs and their students learn more about VC.  It is time for Congress, industry, and schools to come together to address the fact that only 0.0006% of VC goes to Black women and 0.1% to Black men.”  

“For generations, HBCUs have stood as a core pillar of America’s education infrastructure, lifting up countless young Americans and empowering the next generation of leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “As founder and co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, Congresswoman Alma Adams has been an unwavering champion for students of color and HBCUs, helping secure robust, equitable funding and ensuring that Congress makes smart investments that expand opportunity and support diversity.  Through the powerful National HBCU Braintrust initiative, Congresswoman Adams and the entire HBCU Caucus are working to harness the transformative talent, imagination and leadership of HBCU students, and give them the tools they need to pursue their dreams, strengthen our communities and succeed in the 21st Century economy.”

“HBCU students represent a generation of leaders who will drive the innovation, creativity, and results businesses of tomorrow need to thrive,” said Marissa Horne, Managing Director of Talent Acquisition at American Airlines. “At American, we know that harnessing and supporting diversity in aviation, will provide us an extraordinary pipeline of future aviators from pilots to engineers.”

At AnitaB.org we value HBCUs and all of our nation’s esteemed Minority Serving Institutions. Our organization has an audacious mission of reaching 50/50 equity in the tech sector by 2025, and will never get there if black and brown students and professional technologists are left behind,” said President and CEO Brenda Darden Wilkerson. “That’s why we are proud to support the HBCU Braintrust for the second year running. This year, we once again support AMIE in an effort that drives tuition dollars directly to the hands of students pursuing engineering majors at HBCUs. We are thrilled that this year the Braintrust is amplifying entrepreneurship, because supporting women tech founders is an AnitaB.org priority. We more than doubled our contribution from last year, to also support HBCUvc, fueling innovation training at both HSIs and HBCUs. At AnitaB.org, we will continue to invest in gender equity in tech, and are proud to be a part of the 2019 Braintrust.”

“Wells Fargo is honored to continue its steadfast support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities through its marquee sponsorship of the 3rd Annual National HBCU Braintrust.  We applaud the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and Rep. Alma Adams for creating a forum where HBCU leaders, students, industry and policymakers can work together to advance the important work of HBCUs,” said Georgette Dixon, Senior Vice President and Director of Strategic Partnerships for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is committed to these important institutions that are critical in creating the next generation of innovative business leaders.”

“If America is to meet its heavy and growing need for STEM graduates and get the most from the knowledge economy, it will only do so with the full participation and continued leadership of its historically black colleges and universities, many of which already contribute disproportionately to these national priorities,” said North Carolina A&T State University Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “We at North Carolina A&T are proud to play a preeminent role in STEM education and innovation. We are energized to join with members of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and our HBCU colleagues this week at the National HBCU Braintrust to strategize on how, together, we can do even more.”

“Xavier’s Division of Business prepares our students for success and a lifetime of meaningful service to their surrounding community,” said President Reynold Verret, “We believe that the entrepreneurial spirit is the key driver of sustainable business growth and that the true ethos of entrepreneurship is in full alignment with the Xavier mission, in empowering all people to contribute to our society in positive, humane, and lasting ways. Xavier, like many other HBCUs are producing top talent despite being underfunded, so it’s vital that the private sector and federal government  make greater investments in our students.”  

“As a former venture capitalist, I know that diversity in business can lead to more innovative ideas and better work products. Unfortunately, there is a broad diversity problem within venture capitalism, and it extends from a deficit of black investors to low African-American participation in venture capital. In fact, less than one percent of all venture capital in this country goes to African-Americans. That’s a crisis of opportunity that continues to be fueled by implicit and explicit biases, as well as centuries of institutionalized racism,” said U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA). “I applaud the National HBCU Braintrust for highlighting the vast potential of black invention and helping forge the path for HBCU students to take advantage of venture capital.”

“I congratulate my colleague, Rep. Alma S. Adams, for once again being selected as the honorary host of the National HBCU Braintrust.  I’m proud to be a part of the third annual Braintrust, promoting African-American entrepreneurship and innovation, hosted during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “Our nation’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities graduate talented and driven young Americans eager to create new businesses, grow jobs, and disrupt old industries with positive new ideas.  As a strong supporter of HBCUs, I’m excited that the Braintrust will help graduates access venture capital and work to close broad disparities in entrepreneurship and financing. I look forward to supporting this initiative as a member of the Congressional HBCU Caucus and as Majority Leader in the Democratic-led House.” 

“HBCUs have made and continue to make tremendous contributions to our society. Their graduates have helped shape the course of our nation’s history and secure freedoms that they have not always enjoyed,” said Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “HBCUs continuously serve as a hotbed for innovation and are pipelines to productive careers. As an HBCU graduate, I’ve benefited personally from the exceptional value and educational preparation that these institutions provide. I applaud Congresswoman Adams’s efforts with this year’s Braintrust highlighting the important role HBCUs play in producing top talent and connecting these students to venture capitalists, corporate executives, and Members of Congress.”

“As an engineer by trade, I know the importance of innovation in businesses and industries. We should be using all the tools at our disposal to increase young people’s access to the networks necessary for their success, and HBCUs play a huge role in this process,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “All Americans should have equal access to these resources. This year’s Braintrust will move us closer to our shared goals.” 

“Our nation is stronger when everyone has an opportunity to achieve the American dream, and the HBCU Braintrust is an exciting way to collaborate and discuss innovative ways to create further opportunities for students at our nation’s HBCUs,” said Congressman Bradley Byrne, co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus.  

“HBCUs play an essential role in education in our country,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13). “For generations, HBCUs have been the training ground for many of our nation's best and brightest African-American entrepreneurs, even at a time when other doors to academic achievement were closed to them. With a 400% increase in African American owned businesses between 2017 and 2018, I believe it is more important than ever that we invest in HBCUs and uplift their vital role in education, as well as work for equal access to venture capital for African American entrepreneurs to further that entrepreneurial spirit.”

“HBCUs have a strong history of producing innovators and top talent in the African American community, the U.S., and the world. Their contributions to science, technology, and every other aspect of American society and development have served as tools for the survival and advancement of mankind,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30). “I am delighted that we are focusing on the innovative talents of our HBCU family and hope that we can open up more access to venture capital funds and opportunities so that we can continue to grow.”

“As a member of the HBCU Caucus, I’m excited to welcome HBCUs from my home state of Georgia and all across the nation to the third annual National HBCU Braintrust,” said Congressman Doug Collins (GA-09). “HBCUs are critical to diversifying the venture capital industry, and this year’s conference will ensure students have access to the tools they need to compete in today’s economy. I want to thank Rep. Adams for her steadfast leadership and for constantly working to build strong partnerships between innovators and HBCUs.”

“As a member of the bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus, I’ve seen firsthand how HBCUs – like Fayetteville State University in my district – prepare our students for 21st Century opportunities,” said Congressman Richard Hudson, (NC-08).  “I remain committed to working with my colleagues to support our schools and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.” 

“In Virginia and across America, HBCUs are key to educating the next generation of top entrepreneurs and business talent. Congress must continue to fight for HBCUs, and I am thrilled that students from Norfolk and beyond will be in Washington attending the Braintrust summit,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02). “This is a terrific opportunity for students to meet with top corporate executives and members of Congress. By promoting much-needed diversity in the business community, this event is clearly an asset to our nation and our economy.”

“Nashville’s four HBCUs are integral to the history and vitality of our community. American Baptist College, Fisk, Meharry, and TSU were founded when the pursuit of higher education was largely inaccessible to African Americans, providing opportunities to countless students,” said Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05). “Educators, Civil Rights Activists, and Olympians have walked the halls of these storied institutions – including Diane Nash, Congressman John Lewis, and Wilma Rudolph. Our HBCUs helped change America, and their impact continues to this very day.”

Full Schedule:

Day 1: Wednesday, September 11, 2019

  • 12:00PM - 1:30PM: Microsoft Luncheon and Networking Reception
  • 2:00PM – 4:30PM: Tour of the African American History Museum
  • 5:00PM – 6:30PM: Dinner with Facebook; Careers in Tech Policy
  • 6:00PM - 8:00PM:  Tech & Telecom Association’s Salute to Diverse Innovation & Scholarship Reception Benefiting the Advancing Minorities Interest in Engineering Foundation

Day 2: Thursday, September 12, 2019

  • 10:30AM - 11:30AM:  HBCU Braintrust Panel One - The Presidents 
  • 12:00PM - 1:00PM: HBCU Braintrust Panel Two - The Industry Partners
  • 1:30PM – 3:00PM: Model Congress with the Congressional Black Associates
  • 3:00PM – 6:00PM: Tech 101: Navigating 21st Century Careers

Day 3: Friday, September 13, 2019

  • 9:00AM – 10:30AM: Breakfast with McDonald’s & the National Football Player’s Association
  • 10:30AM - 2:00PM: HBCU Innovation House

The Braintrust is designed to connect HBCU students to new opportunities and experiences.  The Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus launched the Braintrust in 2017 to spur greater collaboration between industry and HBCUs.  The Braintrust brings together government, industry and educational leaders annually to discuss the condition of HBCUs and to find solutions to the issues impacting these schools and their students.  

This year, the Braintrust is proud to host leading Black venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to discuss strategies for cultivating the next generation of Black innovators. HBCUs produce 50 percent of all Black professionals, and 42 percent of all Black engineers; they are key to powering diverse innovation. Yet, only .1% of all venture capital is invested in Black men, and only .006% in Black women, and crafting stronger relationships between venture capitalists and HBCUs is essential to begin closing this gap. 

Participating Schools: North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Tuskegee University, Tennessee State University, Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Morehouse College, Prairie View Agricultural & Mechanical University, Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Norfolk State University, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, and National Society of Engineers

Industry Participants: AnitaB.org, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, T-Mobile, Microsoft, SAP, Intel Corporation, Google, Lyft, PayPal, eBay, SunTrust, Capital One, Duke Energy, Nvidia, Twitter, Facebook, Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Regions Bank, Adobe, IBM, FICO, Ally Financial, General Motors, FedEx, McDonald’s, NFL Players Association, Accenture, Amazon, Visa, Samsung, National Association of Broadcasters Foundation, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association, Information Technology Industry Council, BSA Foundation, Plexo Capital, Kapor Capital, 645 Ventures, and MaC Venture Capital

Members of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus: Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Rep. French Hill (R-AR), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Rep.  Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. André Carson (D-IN), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), Rep.  Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. David Trone (D-MD), Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

###

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As incidents of hate crimes continue to rise, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to introduce the Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Act. The legislation would improve hate crimes reporting and expand assistance and resources for victims of hate crimes. Companion legislation was introduced by U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Pete Olson (R-TX) in the House of Representatives. 

“In 2017, Heather Heyer lost her life fighting the forces of hatred and white supremacy. But since the horrible events in Charlottesville nearly two years ago, we have continued to see an alarming increase in the number of hate crimes across the country,” said Warner. “We owe it to Heather and the victims of hate crimes everywhere to do everything we can to stamp out the voices of hatred that have been promoting violence against Jews, Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable Americans.” 

“We all need to come together to combat this onslaught of hate crimes. Virginians have seen too many horrific acts of hate, including when white supremacists descended upon Charlottesville and murdered Heather Heyer. Those of us in leadership need to stand up against hate and do everything in our power to support those who are hurt by it,” Kaine said

“The rise in hate crimes in the United States has reached epidemic proportions in the last few years, and we need law enforcement to have every possible tool to stop it,” said Beyer. “By tracking and reporting incidents of hate crimes nationwide, we can know whether we are making progress towards their prevention. I thank my colleague, Rep. Olson, for his leadership; this legislation has a real chance to move forward.” 

“Everyone knows my daughter’s name,” said Susan Bro, Heather Heyer’s mother. “Heather is everywhere—in the news, in our minds, in our hearts—but she’s not in the data, nor are the 35 people who were injured while marching alongside her in Charlottesville. If such a despicable act of hatred is not reflected in hate crime statistics, think of everything else that might be missing. The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act is an important bill that will improve our response to hate crime, and I call on Congress to support this effort.”

“After Khalid was killed, our family released a statement expressing that his death was not just another murder to be added to crime statistics, that the circumstances surrounding his death laid bare the need for a better response from law enforcement and the justice system,” said Rami Jabara, Khalid Jabara’s brother. “In retrospect, we shouldn’t have assumed his death would be there reflected in the data, despite how straightforward that may have seemed. Congress must pass the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act. No family should be subjected to what we endured and victims’ voices should be heard.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported a sharp uptick in reported hate crimes in the fourth quarter of 2016. Researchers have shown that reported hate crimes following President Trump’s election made up the second largest surge since the FBI began collecting data in 1992. Yet the FBI’s annual Hate Crimes Statistics report vastly understates the true incidence of this problem. In 2017, the report reflected that approximately 7,000 hate crimes occurred nationwide, when the SPLC believes the number is closer to approximately 250,000 per year.

The Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Act would help combat the recent surge in hate crimes by:

  • Improving Reporting of Hate Crimes: This legislation will improve reporting of hate crimes by supporting the implementation of and training for NIBRS, the latest crime reporting standard, in law enforcement agencies without it. This will allow law enforcement agencies to record and report detailed information about crimes, including hate crimes, to the FBI. In 2016, of the 15,254 agencies that participated in reporting hate crimes to the FBI, nearly nine out of 10 reported zero hate crimes; in Mississippi, agencies reported just seven incidents in the entire state. Helping law enforcement agencies recognize and report detailed information on hate crimes and report that data to the FBI will help establish a clear picture of the threats that vulnerable communities are facing across the country.
  • Encouraging Law Enforcement Prevention, Training, and Education on Hate Crimes: This legislation will provide support to law enforcement agencies that establish a policy on identifying, investigating and reporting hate crimes, train officers on how to identify hate crimes, develop a system for collecting hate crimes data, establish a hate crimes unit within the agency, and engage in community relations to address hate crimes in that jurisdiction. 
  • Establishing Hate Crime Hotlines: This legislation will provide grants for states to establish and run hate crime hotlines, to record information about hate crimes, and to redirect victims and witnesses to law enforcement and local support services as needed. This will make sure that hate crimes don’t go unreported and victims get the help that they need. 
  • Allowing Judges to Require Community Service or Education for Perpetrators of Hate Crimes: This legislation will allow for judges to require individuals convicted under federal hate crime laws to undergo community service or education centered on the community targeted by the crime.

The bill is endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union; the Arab American Institute; Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University, San Bernardino; the Heather Heyer Foundation; Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights; the Matthew Shepard Foundation; Muslim Advocates; the National Center for Transgender Equality; the National Disability Rights Network; Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT); and the Sikh Coalition.

 

###

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today cast his vote in support of bipartisan legislation that would reform the federal criminal justice system.

“While this measure is not a cure-all for the problems that plague our criminal justice system, this is an overdue step to improve a system that still imprisons too many people – particularly people of color – for committing nonviolent crimes. Instead, this bill will allow law enforcement to redirect taxpayer resources toward catching and punishing dangerous and violent criminals,” said Sen. Warner. 

The First Step Act, a bipartisan bill to lower the recidivism rate and reduce sentences for certain nonviolent offenders, tonight passed the Senate in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. The compromise legislation has support from a broad range of Democrats and Republicans, including President Trump, and has been endorsed by a number of law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police (the nation’s largest police group), as well as the National District Attorneys Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Governors Association. 

Some of the changes included the First Step Act include: 

  • Under the bill, offenders who are deemed to be at low risk to commit more crimes will be given incentives to reduce their sentences and access to evidence-based programs (like drug treatment) to better prepare them to return to their neighborhoods and become productive members of the community.
  • The bill also contains a number of sentencing reforms: for instance, it gives federal judges more discretion in sentencing low-level non-violent offenders who cooperate with the government, so that the sentence truly fits the crime. It also reduces some mandatory minimums, and makes sure that only repeat offenders are subjected to the harshest forms of sentencing, as Congress intended.
  • And for a long time, the law disproportionately targeted African Americans by punishing possession of crack cocaine at a much higher level than powder cocaine. Under this bill, those who are serving sentences under those old, outdated federal laws can petition for sentence reductions – if they have a record of good behavior, and meet other qualifications.   

The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives, which earlier this year passed a similar bill in a broad bipartisan vote.

 

###

One Year After Deadly Charlottesville Rally, Warner & Kaine Press DOJ for Updates on Combating Racial Hate

Letter presses the Administration on carrying out actions to combat hate crimes as outlined in joint resolution led last year by Warner and Kaine

Aug 10 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote a letter to John Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ), pressing for more answers on how the Administration is implementing actions specifically outlined by S.J.Res.49, a joint resolution condemning racial hate and directing a coordinated federal effort to address hate violence, following the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va. on August 11 and August 12, 2017.

The bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Warner and Kaine along with Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), unanimously passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Trump on September 14, 2017. The resolution explicitly condemned white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups involved in prompting the deadly attack in Charlottesville, Va. that killed counter-protester Heather Heyer, injured several others, and led to the deaths of two Virginia state troopers responding to the violence. Additionally, the resolution outlined specific actions for the Administration to take to fight hate violence, including thoroughly investigating all acts of hate crimes and domestic terrorism by hate groups, and calling upon the Administration to “use all resources available to the President and the President's Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

Now, nearly one year after the bipartisan resolution was signed into law by President Trump, Sens. Warner and Kaine are pressing for answers on actions the Administration is taking - or not taking - to uphold the terms of the resolution calling for a coordinated federal effort to fight hate violence. 

“We are particularly interested if you have implemented, or plan to implement, the following: the creation of a task force dedicated to addressing hate violence, sufficient funding for civil rights offices, robust data collection procedures to document the prevalence and nature of hate crimes in the U.S., a federal website on hate violence to convene resources and communicate effectively to the public, the development of incentives for participation in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hate Crime Statistics Act reports, increased training and education for jurisdictions that underreport hate crimes, and the use of grants to promote strong enforcement on these issues,” wrote the Senators.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

 

John M. Gore
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Acting Assistant Attorney General Gore:

Nearly one year has passed since the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia between August 11 and August 12, 2017. As the one year anniversary of that tragedy approaches, we write regarding the progress made by the Department of Justice in carrying out the actions called for in S.J.Res.49, a joint resolution condemning that event.

President Trump signed the resolution into law (P.L. 115-58) on September 14, 2017. As Virginia’s Senators, we led the effort that unanimously passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by the President. The legislation rejects White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and other hate groups, and urges action from the President and his administration to combat this growing threat.

Specifically, the law urges the Attorney General to work with “the Secretary of Homeland Security to investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by these groups to determine if any criminal laws have been violated and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence.” Further, the law directs the Attorney General to collaborate with “the heads of other Federal agencies to improve the reporting of hate crimes and to emphasize the importance of the collection, and the reporting to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, of hate crime data by State and local agencies.”

More broadly, the law directs the administration to use all available resources to address the growing prevalence of hate groups.

Given the direction provided to the Department of Justice in this legislation, we request that you provide our offices an update within 30 days of receipt of this letter on activities that you have undertaken in furtherance of the provisions of S.J. Res 49, as well as a full report on the multi-agency efforts on hate crimes data collection.

As you implement this request, we are particularly interested if you have implemented, or plan to implement, the following: the creation of a task force dedicated to addressing hate violence, sufficient funding for civil rights offices, robust data collection procedures to document the prevalence and nature of hate crimes in the U.S., a federal website on hate violence to convene resources and communicate effectively to the public, the development of incentives for participation in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hate Crime Statistics Act reports, increased training and education for jurisdictions that underreport hate crimes, and the use of grants to promote strong enforcement on these issues.

We appreciate your attention on this important matter and look forward to your response within 30 days.

 

Sincerely,

 

###