Hates crimes, defined as a crime motivated by the victim’s ethnicity or national origin, against Latinos in the U.S. are on the rise and several recent incidents add credence to a general trend that started back in 2003.
In the five years from 2003-2007, the number of hate crimes reported against Hispanics increased nearly 40 percent (from 426 in 2003 to 595 in 2007). Of all hate crimes in 2007 motivated by biasness nearly 60 percent were committed against Hispanics, up nearly 50 percent from 2003.
The increase in violence against Hispanics correlates closely with the increasingly heated debate over Comprehensive Immigration Reform and an escalation in the level of anti-immigrant rhetoric on radio, television, and the Internet. The Department of Homeland Security, last year assessed “in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.” Recently reported hate crimes bears this out to be true.
Since April of this year, Staten Island, New York has reported 26 suspected hate crimes compared to 11 last year. The entire state of New York reports that crimes against Hispanics due to their ethnicity nearly doubled. In June, Arizona declared the killing of Juan Varela, a third-generation, native-born American as a hate crime. Several days ago in Baltimore, Maryland Martin Rayez was clubbed to death by a 19-year Jermaine Holley who confessed “he hated Hispanics.”