President Joe Biden has issued a stark warning about the growing threat posted by white supremacy groups.
“White supremacy and all forms of hate fueled by violence have no place in America,” Biden declared Thursday at a special White House summit..
“Too much hate that’s fueled extremist violence that’s been allowed to fester and grow,” he continued. “As a result, our very own intelligence agencies have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat to our Homeland today.
In what was one of the strongest condemnations of white extremism by a president, Biden acknowledged, “I’ve been around a while [and] I never thought I’d hear that or say that.
“We need to say it clearly and forcefully: White supremacy, all forms of hate fueled by violence have no place in America.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Justice Department is expanding its crackdown on hate crimes to include all 94 U.S. attorneys’ office “within the next year.”
The DOJ’s United Against Hate program, which is aimed at improving the reporting of hate crimes and incidents, was launched as a pilot initiative earlier this year in Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Eastern District of Michigan.
It will now expand to 16 more U.S. Attorney’s offices before going nationwide, Garland said.
“In our democracy, people are not entitled to commit violent acts or make unlawful violent threats motivated by bias or hate. And the Justice Department will not hesitate to hold accountable people who do so,” Garland said, speaking at a panel discussion during the White House Hate Crimes Summit,.
“All people in this country should be able to live without fear of being attacked or harassed because of where they are from, what they look like, whom they love, how they worship, or what they believe.”
Under the program, community groups work with law enforcement to identify and report “unlawful acts of haste.”
Noting that the struggle against hate-fueled violence has always been “central to the mission of the Justice Department,” Garland said that the DOJ has stepped up its efforts to prevent, deter and prosecute hate crimes.
Garland said major successful prosecutions so far included:
- Conviction of three men who killed jogger Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was jogging in a Georgia suburb;
- Conviction of a New York resident who mailed 60 letters to LGBTQ individuals and organizations with threats to shoot, kill or bomb recipients
- Conviction of a man in Tennessee for a series of arsons targeting Catholic, Methodist, and Baptist churches in the state.
Garland noted the Department’s activities had been strengthened by passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, and by increased anti-hate crime training for local police departments supported by the the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).