hate-crimes-latinos In this Thursday, May 21, 2020 file photo, widow Jessica Coco García, hugs her children at a memorial in the Del Sol Medical Center parking lot for father Guillermo "Memo" García in El Paso, Texas.
AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File

“Our communities, especially those most affected by hate crimes such as the Latino community, deserve better,” Rep. Sylvia García said.

There’s no denying that violence increased since President Donald Trump got elected in 2016. The FBI reports that violent crimes have steadily risen, even moreso for the Latino community during this period. 

The FBI’s latest 2019 report, released Monday Nov. 16th, shows that hate crimes against Latinos have spiked. For example, in 2016, the FBI reported that 10.6% of the country’s hate crimes were against Latinos. In 2019, 14.1% of hate crimes were against Latinos. 

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One of the main reasons that the data shows an increase in crimes against Latinos is due to the El Paso massacre of 2019. Of the 51 hate-motivated killings of Latinos last year, 22 of them were killed during the El Paso shooting at a Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019. Another victim from that shooting, Guillermo “Memo” García, succumbed to his injuries and died this year. The shooter was a white supremacist who was open about his hatred of Latinos before he went on his rampage. 

The data also shows a nearly 7% increase in religion-based hate crimes, with 953 reports of crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions last year, up from 835 the year before. The FBI said the number of hate crimes against Black people dropped slightly to 1,930, from 1,943.

Anti-Latino hate crimes, however, rose to 527 in 2019, from 485 in 2018, which is an 8.7% increase. And the total number of hate crimes based on a person’s sexual orientation stayed relatively stable, with one fewer crime reported last year than the year before. However, there were 20 more hate crimes against gay men reported.

Overall, there were 7,314 hate crimes last year, up from 7,120 the year before. The FBI’s annual report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person’s race, religion, or sexual orientation, among other categories.

In response to the new FBI report, the Hispanic Caucus tweeted, “Hate crimes against Latinos, including the El Paso massacre, are at a decade high—and it’s not a surprise. After the open hostility and blatant racism from the Trump administration, this is the result. We must come together as a nation to reject hate.”

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Rep. Sylvia García (D-Texas) tweeted, “There is no place for hate in America! Our communities, especially those most affected by hate crimes such as the Latino community, deserve better. We must do better!”

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, told Reuters last year that before anti-Latino crimes began to surge, Muslims in the US were targeted. However, with Trump’s anti-Latino and anti-immigration rhetoric, the target became Latinos. 

“We’re seeing the swapping of one derided group in the social-political arena for another,” Levin said to Reuters. “Attacks against Muslims peaked around 2016 when terrorism was the concern. Now immigration is the No. 1 issue, and Latinos are being targeted.”