Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FBI Report Documents Hate Crimes Against Latinos At Record Level

Hate crimes rise as anti-immigrant campaigns fill the airwaves and fuel anti-immigrant local ordinances

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Bureau of Investigation Hate Crimes Statistics Report released today demonstrates the real societal impact of anti-immigrant campaigns launched over the airwaves and through anti-immigrant legislation. The report shows a sharp increase in the number of hate crimes reported against Hispanics based on their ethnicity or national origin to the highest levels since the reports were first mandated by the Hate Crimes Statistics Act.

According to the report, in 2006, Hispanics comprised 62.8% of victims of crimes motivated by a bias toward the victims’ ethnicity or national origin. In 2004, the comparable figure was 51.5%. Since 2004, the number of victims of anti-Hispanic crimes increased by 25%.

“Anti-immigrant hatred heard on the radio and cable shows reaches America’s neighborhoods with real consequences,” stated MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña. “Heightened anti-immigrant sentiment has blocked immigration reform and seeks to turn local police into immigration law enforcers thus making it more difficult for victims to report crimes. The FBI report should serve as a wake up call to our nation’s leaders to take action on comprehensive immigration reform, reduce tensions and safeguard the basic civil rights and liberties of all Americans.”

The report goes on to demonstrate the steady growth of anti-Hispanic hate crimes after 2004.

2006: 576 anti-Hispanic crimes against 819 victims

2005: 522 anti-Hispanic crimes against 722 victims

2004: 475 anti-Hispanic crimes against 646 victims

2003: 426 anti-Hispanic crimes against 595 victims

2002: 480 anti-Hispanic crimes against 639 victims