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Hate Crimes in the U.S. Against Latinos Increased In 2019, FBI Finds

Maria Perez
Nov 19, 2020 - 4:54

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The latest Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report on hate crime statistics found that hate crimes against Latinos increased from 2018 to 2019. 

In 2019, there were 7,314 hate crimes reported, which is up from 7,120 hate crimes from the year before. The report found that 57.6% of victims were targeted based on their race, ethnicity or ancestry, and 14.1 percent of those victims were Hispanic or Latino.

Anti-Hispanic hate crimes, which include assault, robberies and other crimes, increased 8.7 percent last year, according to the FBI. In 2019, anti-Hispanic crimes climbed to 527 from 485 the year prior. 

Out of the 51 victims murdered in hate motivated killings noted in the FBI report , 22 were killed after a gunman attacked a Walmart in El Paso. The gunman reportedly wanted to stop a “Hispanic Invasion of Texas,” according to a 2,300 word manifesto he wrote obtained by police, CNN reported. The document was filled with hate-filled language against Latinxs. 

In August, a 23rd victim died of injuries sustained from the shooting, NBC News reported.  Guillermo ‘Memo’ Garcia and his wife Jessica Coca Garcia were out in the Walmart parking lot fundraising for their daughter’s soccer team when the shooting took place that morning. 

“Racism is something I always wanted to think didn’t exist. Obviously, it does,” she told reporters a week after the shooting.

The FBI hate crime report also found that hate crimes against Black people slightly fell, from 1,943 to 1,930. Religion-based hate crimes increased by 7 percent, with most of the hate crimes targeting Jewish people and Jewish institutions. 

Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, previously told The North Star that crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018. He noted that the U.S. is becoming more violent and are targeting groups of people of different races and ethnicities. 

“We’re getting more diverse and more violent,” Levin said.

Organizations Urge Media to Continue Speaking Out Against Racism and White Supremacy

Civil rights organizations have urged the media and politicians to speak out against white supremacy and racism to stop the increase of hate crimes. 

Sindy Benavides, the National CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) previously told TNS that mainstream media must do a better job explaining why white supremacy can be a threat to our democracy. By speaking out, this will end hate against Hispanics and Latinos, Benavides said

“We do want the federal government, especially this administration, to denounce white supremacy and for the FBI to make sure it [is] mandatory to track these hate crimes,” Benavides said.

The FBI releases a full report on reported hate crimes in the U.S. every year. The report is compiled through 15,588 law enforcement agencies. Each agency provides information on offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes.

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