Elizabeth Warren: I’ll Treat Hate Violence as Domestic Terrorism

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elizabeth warren

Elizabeth Warren. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) unveiled a new plan to classify crimes committed by white nationalists as acts of domestic terror, in order to make prosecuting such crimes as “top priority for the departments of Justice and Homeland Security.”

Warren released her new initiative, titled “Fighting Back Against White Nationalist Violence,” ahead of Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta.

Warren said she would require “state and local governments to fully report suspected incidences of bias-motivated crimes so that federal officials could more accurately assess the scope of the white nationalist threat,’” according to reports in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.

Wading into a controversial debate about whether such crimes constitute domestic terrorism, the Democratic presidential candidate said it was crucial to impose harsher penalties on any person or group that imposes a threat to life.

“Domestic right-wing terrorism is completely incompatible with American values,” Warren wrote in the plan. “It is a threat to American safety and security. In a Warren administration, we will use every tool we have to defeat it.”

Citing the mass shootings in El Paso, Pittsburgh and Charleston, she noted that the shooters used racist ideologies as motivations for their attacks.

Her initiative would also make it more difficult for current or former white nationalists to enlist in any of the armed forces. Warren would direct the Pentagon to improve its background check process to filter for instances of hate crimes.

Moreover, Warren plans to set up a commission to find ways to fight “violent extremist content” online and take further steps to encourage the teaching of cultural and human tolerance in schools, the Boston Globe reports.

This plan builds upon some of her already released campaign proposals by continued calls for “overhauling police work nationwide, seeking to ensure investigators use evidence effectively without violating individual rights,” according to CBS Boston.

“We can be a country that prioritizes the safety of all our citizens,” Warren wrote in her plan.

“When we fail to prosecute hate crimes, we send the message that the victims are less valued. And when our neighbors are being persecuted, or attacked, or treated unfairly, that impacts all of us. To take on hate, we all have to stand up against it — together.”

Striking a similar note last month, Attorney-General William Barr suggested the country’s anti-terrorism laws could provide tools to counter mass violence.

Additional Reading: US Prosecutions for Domestic Terrorism Outnumber International Cases.

The Warren plan can be accessed here.

This summary was prepared by TCR staff writer Andrea Cipriano.

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