Freshman Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly earlier this month to discuss strategies to combat a recent wave of hate crimes.
The Indian American congressman announced April 10 that he is leading a delegation of members of Congress who have signed a letter urging Kelly to use the full powers of his office to “prevent additional racially-motivated attacks and to combat the roots of hatred and intolerance.”
“I recently had the opportunity to speak with Secretary Kelly during his visit to Capitol Hill. During our meeting, Secretary Kelly discussed his belief that his department needed to focus more on the activities of white supremacist organizations and similar hate groups,” said Krishnamoorthi in a press statement.
“My colleagues and I were heartened by the Secretary’s clear recognition of the need to protect all Americans, but we now need him to take further steps to follow through on his commitments,” he said, adding: “I stand ready to work with Secretary Kelly on these issues and my colleagues in Congress do as well.”
Last month, at a town hall meeting in his home district, Krishnamoorthi said he has called for a Congressional hearing to address the issue.
The Indian American community, which has been a target for bias-motivated violence since 9/11, has seen a recent spike of hate crimes. The community got its first wake-up call after two engineers – Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani – were shot at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, Feb. 22 by Adam Purinton, who shouted racist slurs at the two men as he fired his gun. Kuchibhotla was killed in the attack.
Days later, Deep Rai, a small businessman in Kent, Wash., was shot in the arm in the driveway of his home by an unknown assailant. Kent Police Department Commander Jarod Kasner told India-West that the assailant, who is still at large, yelled out: “Get out of our country. Go back to where you’re from.” Rai survived the incident and is back to work.
Several other instances of possible hate crimes have also been reported, including a diaper left on the doorstep of a Richland, Wash., Indian American couple’s home, which bore the ominous phrase: “You are under attack.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported last November that in the seven days following the Nov. 8 general election, which brought President Donald Trump into the White House,701 hate incidents had been reported. A total of 206 incidents were anti-immigrant, and 51 attacks targeted Muslim Americans.