More than 90 House lawmakers call on Mayorkas for ‘urgent action to combat antisemitism’
More than 90 House lawmakers are calling on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to take “additional and urgent action to combat antisemitism and prosecute antisemitic hate crimes” after antisemitic incidents in the U.S. reached an all-time high last year.
The letter — led by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) — specifically asks that Mayorkas encourage President Biden to prioritize the establishment of “an inter-agency strategy to overcome the threat of antisemitism.”
That strategy, the group later writes, should be comprehensive, whole-of-government and aim to “address the growing problem of domestic antisemitism.”
“We must ensure our federal, state, and local agencies are communicating with one another and have the necessary education, training, and resources to confront this threat,” the lawmakers wrote.
“We must ensure every facet of our government is engaging with local community partners on the front lines. And we must ensure DHS and all its inter-agency partners are prioritizing this issue and tackling it with the urgency and coordination it warrants,” they added.
The letter comes roughly two months after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released its annual audit, which included more than 2,700 reports of assault, vandalism and harassment against Jewish individuals in the U.S. throughout 2021.
That statistic marked a 34 percent increase from 2020, and the highest number reported in one year since 1979, when the ADL started tracking antisemitic incidents.
Last month, the House passed a resolution condemning the rise of antisemitism in a 420-1 vote. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the only lawmaker to vote against the measure. In a tweet, he said it “promoted internet censorship and violations of the 1st amendment.”
In their letter to Mayorkas, the lawmakers also requested that “appropriate representatives” from other departments within the U.S. government — including Justice, State, Education, Labor and Defense — the are “involved in this effort be included in the discussion.”
“Only by working together, across all branches and levels of government, across our country and throughout our society, can we address the many facets of antisemitism and ensure the safety and security of the American Jewish community,” they said.
“Hate in all its forms is destructive and, unaddressed, risks fraying the fabric of our nation. We must continue to speak up and confront antisemitism head-on, whenever and wherever it arises,” they added.
A DHS spokesperson told The Hill that the department responds to congressional correspondence through official channels.
— Updated July 1 at 5:41 p.m.