WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) voted to pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022, a bipartisan bill to give law enforcement more tools and resources to address a wave of incidents of domestic terrorism that have struck communities around the country.
“Domestic terrorists threaten the safety and wellbeing of our communities,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “In incident after incident, we’ve seen communities of color and houses of worship targeted with hate and violence. No American should be afraid to go grocery shopping, go to school or practice their religion because of the threat posed by domestic terrorists and white supremacists. The legislation we passed today will provide our law enforcement agencies with the tools and resources they need to combat these threats and keep every American safe.”
In the past several years our nation has seen:
- A wave of bomb threats at Historically Black colleges and universities at the start of Black History Month.
- Asian Americans become the victims of unconscionable violence tied to misinformation about COVID-19.
- 23 killed in El Paso in the largest terrorist attack targeting Hispanics in modern U.S. history.
- Counter-protesters mowed down while expressing their anti-racist views in Charlottesville.
- The sanctity of our Houses of Worship violated – including at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.
Just this past weekend, in two more hate-motived incidents, 10 people were killed in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY and another was killed in a shooting at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, CA.
Federal law enforcement agencies have reported that domestic violent extremists pose a steady and evolving threat of violence to our communities. As threats and attacks have moved from one community to the next, the underlying drivers for domestic violent extremism – anti-government sentiment, racism, and anti-Semitism – have remained constant. The bipartisan Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act provides the resources and tools that law enforcement and our communities need to combat these threats.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 would:
- Authorize the creation of three offices, one each within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to monitor, investigate and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism.
- Require joint biannual reports to Congress assessing the state of domestic terrorism threats, with a specific focus on white supremacists. In preparing the reports, the new offices would review hate crime incidents to determine if those incidents also constituted domestic terrorism.
- Require the new offices to focus their resources on the most significant threats, as described in detail to Congress in the joint biannual report.
- Codify the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which would coordinate with United States Attorneys and other public safety officials to promote information sharing and ensure an effective, responsive and organized joint effort to combat domestic terrorism.
- Requires DOJ, FBI, and DHS to provide training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in understanding, detecting, deterring and investigating acts of domestic terrorism and white supremacy.
- Directs DHS, DOJ, FBI, and the Department of Defense to establish an interagency task force to combat white supremacist infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement.
This legislation is supported by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Anti-Defamation League, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Arab American Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Center for Disability Rights, the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, the Hindu American Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Muslim Advocates, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the National Action Network, the National Council of Jewish Women, Not In Our Town, People For the American Way, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sikh Coalition, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, and UnidosUS.