In wake of the latest mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (D) has extended an invitation to leaders of Black and Asian-American communities as the U.S. Department of Justice explores more effective ways to address hate crimes.
Garland's invitation comes months after he launched an audit with the intent on implementing new policies. According to The Washington Post, Garland is preparing to introduce "new guidelines to help local jurisdictions, including police and community leaders, raise awareness of hate incidents, particularly those that target Asian Americans and others during the coronavirus pandemic."
Justice Department officials have also confirmed Garland's intent to announce a $10 million grant to increase measures for hate crime reporting. Per Justice Department officials, the funding is intended to "help states establish new reporting hotlines and assist police agencies with sending data to the federal government."
Garland has also released a statement addressing the issue.
"Throughout our history, and to this day, hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear they inflict on entire communities," Garland said in a statement. "No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate-fueled violence. The Justice Department will continue to use every resource at its disposal to confront unlawful acts of hate, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them."
When Garland unveils his plan, he will reportedly be joined by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. His department has also worked alongside the DOJ to set the new guidelines. Per The Post, the upcoming announcement is also significant because it coincides with the first-year anniversary of Congress passing to pieces of legislation to combat hate crimes: the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act and the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act. Both laws open the door for more federal resources to be set aside for the purpose of combating hate crimes.
Speaking to reporters during a call on Thursday, May 19, one senior DOJ official explained the significant impact of hate crimes and their effects on communities.
"Hate crimes have a unique impact because of the terror they inflict on entire communities," the Justice Department official said.
The Justice Deparment's overall goal is to break down barriers between the federal government, states, and local sectors to diminish, and possibly prevent, hate crimes.