The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. On August 8, immediately after the back-to-back massacres in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy, US Senator Amy Klobuchar released her plan to keep communities safe from the rising tide of domestic terrorism and hate crimes. This is from the Klobuchar campaign:
“The events of the last week have served as a disturbing reminder that hate crimes and domestic terrorism are on the rise in our country,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “As President, I will end the hateful rhetoric that has become all too routine during the Trump Administration and make combating domestic terrorism and hate-motivated violence a priority. We will strengthen enforcement against those who commit acts of hate – including white nationalist hate crimes – and work with law enforcement and communities around the country to increase protections and not only combat these threats, but to address the root causes of domestic terrorism.”
Senator Klobuchar has been taking on hate crimes and combating hate since she was the Hennepin County Attorney. She has seen firsthand the terrible trauma that hate crimes can inflict – not just on individual victims, but on whole communities. And because of her work on this issue as County Attorney, she was invited to the White House when President Bill Clinton proposed the Matthew Shepard federal hate crimes bill.
As County Attorney, she vigorously prosecuted hate crimes. Her office prosecuted defendants responsible for crimes against a 14-year-old boy who was shot while riding his bike on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a Minneapolis suburb because of the color of his skin, a Minneapolis middle school that was terrorized with burning crosses placed on its grounds, a Korean church in Minneapolis that was desecrated with spray-painted hate messages targeted against blacks, women and gays, and a Hispanic man who was assaulted and severely injured simply because he was speaking Spanish.
In the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader when it comes to combating hate. She supported the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and she has pushed to provide additional grant funding to safeguard all faith-based community centers and to protect religious institutions in the face of rising threats of violence. She has been a champion when it comes to securing federal resources to help heal distressed communities after hate crimes. She has also urged the Trump Administration to strengthen measures to combat the threat of white supremacist violence.
As President, Senator Klobuchar will take the following actions to combat hate and domestic terrorism:
Prioritize combating domestic terrorism and empower law enforcement to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of hate-motivated violence, including against minorities, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.
Direct the Department of Homeland Security to resume its work tracking right wing extremism, including white nationalism.
Require federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess the threat of domestic terrorism and increase training and resources for state and local law enforcement to address it.
In addition to the gun safety proposals the Senator has previously outlined, prevent people convicted of violent misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms.
Strengthen enforcement of hate crimes, including white nationalist hate crimes.
Make lynching a federal hate crime.
Work with Communities
Require the Justice Department and the Department of Commerce to assess how current forms of communication are being used to spread hate and recommend ways to combat threats.
Better coordinate efforts to focus on combating domestic terrorism not only through law enforcement but also by addressing the root causes of domestic terrorism.
Increase protections for places of worship and schools.
Restore the Voting Rights Act protections for voters immediately in states with a recent history of discrimination.
Fully staff and fund the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, which provides communities facing racial and other conflict with services.