Support the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act
March 10, 2020
U.S. House of Representatives
House Judiciary Committee
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear House Judiciary Committee Member:
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 220 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we write to express our support for H.R. 5602, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act. We urge you to vote NO on any harmful amendments or any Motions to Recommit (MTR). Specifically, we oppose any amendments to this bill or MTRs that propose a new charge for domestic terrorism or any enhanced or additional criminal penalties. We find any such amendments to be the wrong approach to addressing White Supremacy, as they can be used as a vehicle to target marginalized communities, manufacturing threats that do not exist. We expressed these concerns in a previous letter, which can be found here.
The need for the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act is clear. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act authorizes the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and FBI offices that are responsible for monitoring threats to offer training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement in understanding, investigating and prosecuting, and deterring acts of domestic terrorism. The legislation mandates that these agencies issue joint annual reports to the House and Senate Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Intelligence Committees in order to evaluate the domestic terrorism threat posed by white supremacists; examine domestic terrorism incidents that occurred in the previous year; and offer transparency through a public quantitative analysis of domestic terrorism-related assessments, investigations, incidents, arrests, indictments, prosecutions, convictions, and weapons recoveries.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act comes at a crucial time, when too many people in this country feel unwelcome, unsafe, and marginalized. Divisive rhetoric and discriminatory policies that cast wide aspersions on Muslim, immigrant, and other marginalized communities have heightened concerns that our country is increasingly legitimizing hate. Members of Congress should not reinforce counterterrorism policies, programs, and frameworks that have inherent flaws rooted in bias, discrimination, and denial or diminution of fundamental rights like due process. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act will not negatively impact marginalized communities. Instead, it implements common sense processes that will combat White Supremacy while not falling into tropes of racial and religious groups who may become unintentional targets of proposed policy.
We join the overwhelming majority of the public, both Republicans and Democrats, that support finding solutions to the rising levels of hate-motivated acts of terror and White Supremacy. We ask you to restore the faith of the American people so that incidents of terror do not further splinter and segregate our communities by eroding the diverse fabric of American life. If you have any questions, please contact Tamara E. Chrisler, Interim Executive Vice- President for Government Affairs at [email protected] or 202-466-3311.
President & CEO
The Leadership Conference, Oppose a New Federal Domestic Terrorism Crime, September 6, 2019, https://civilrights.org/resource/oppose-a-new-federal-domestic-terrorism-crime-2/