Dear Mr. Verdugo,
Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to federal hate crimes legislation. It is good to hear from you and am glad we are in agreement.
I am concerned about senseless acts of violence against other human beings. I believe that those who commit crimes against other individuals should be held fully accountable, regardless of the motivation for the crime. While some individuals suggest that we need to pass laws to prohibit hate crimes, we must recognize that one more law to classify a crime in a particular way is not going to stop a crime.
Such legislation would lead us down a dangerous path and may ultimately cause more confusion and discrimination. I believe any crime against an individual where there is disregard for humanity is a hate crime. We already have laws against murder and assault, and those individuals who commit crimes that some want to classify as hate crimes are already being prosecuted and held accountable under existing laws. Our justice system is working hard toward addressing all crimes.
Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows that hate crimes have declined over the past decade. In fact, of the 15,707 homicides in 2007, nine were considered hate crimes. By contrast 1,554 of these murder victims were children under the age of 18. As we consider how best to allocate federal law enforcement dollars, I am concerned that diverting dollars to a special set of crimes based on sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, or disability will divert limited resources from providing equal protection under the law to all Americans, including our nation's innocent children. We should focus our resources on prosecuting all crime regardless of the criminal's motive.
Thank you again, Anthony, for contacting me. It is an honor to serve you in Congress. If I may be of service to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Member of Congress