I have had the unfortunate task of covering the brutal murders of both Marcelo Lucero and Luis Ramirez on this blog. I have also posted several times on the spike in hate crimes against Latinos that is being witnessed in the United States. The hate speech and the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding the issue of immigration has created a violent and dangerous environment for all immigrants, and specifically Latinos.
Yesterday, national organizations gathered to denounce the recent rash of Hate Crimes and to call for more agressive investigation and prosection of these crimes at both the local and the federal levels.
“We believe that the Justice Department has to become more aggressive in prosecuting hate crimes,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, one of the nation’s historic civil rights organizations. “As a country, we’ve come a long way, but there is still more change needed.”
“Hate crimes such as these must be investigated and prosecuted fully at the local and federal levels,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF President and General Counsel.
Additionally, the organizations connected the dots between hate speech and the violence inflicted on immigrants. It is time to call for an end to the dehumanization of immigrants that allows unthinkable violence and hatred to enter into the mainstream.
“There is a direct connection between the tenor of the political debate and the daily lives of immigrants in our communities. It is no accident that, as the immigration debate has demonized immigrants as “invaders” who poison our communities with disease and criminality, haters have taken matters into their own hands and hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise for the fourth consecutive,” said Michael Lieberman, Washington Counsel, Anti-Defamation League.
While the groups cited Barack Obama’s election as marker for how far we’ve come as a nation, they also emphasize that is a starting point, from which to build on for a more hopeful and less hateful future.