Rep. Haaland Travels to El Paso In Light of Domestic Terrorism Tragedy

Rep. Deb Haaland at memorial to victims of El Paso massacre

Published August 8, 2019

Haaland condemns hate, demands action on gun violence in letters to Congressional Leaders

EL PASO, Texas — On Wednesday, Congresswoman Deb Haaland traveled to El Paso to stand in solidarity against bigotry and hate and demand common sense solutions to gun violence. The trip comes after an active shooter took 22 lives at a Walmart in an act of domestic terrorism fueled by white supremacy.

“These heinous acts of domestic terrorism have shaken our communities at their core, but El Paso has shown that we are resilient and strong,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “We cannot keep reliving this nightmare. No one should have to live it. We’re calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back in session and vote on the bills to address gun violence that House passed in February.”

During her trip, Congresswoman Haaland attended the Border Action Network’s community action event to condemn hate and demand action on gun violence. She then went to the memorial at the Walmart that was attacked last weekend to meet with those mourning the loss of their community members.

“My friend Congresswoman Veronica Escobar is doing a great job fighting for her community. Our families are in fear, and this administration is responsible for the hate filled rhetoric that emboldens white supremacists to attack communities of color,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “I want our families to know that no matter what rhetoric comes out of this Administration, I am with them and will stand up to protect them.”

This week Congresswoman Deb Haaland signed two letters, one that called on House and Senate leadership to take immediate action to address the rising threat posed by white supremacist terrorism; and the other demanding Senate Majority Mitch McConnell immediately call the Senate back into session to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act. Both these bipartisan bills were passed by the House in February of this year and have been blocked for a vote by McConnell for more than 160 days.

Full letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for a vote on legislation to address gun violence is available here.

Full letter to House and Senate Leadership on rising threat of white supremacist terrorism is below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell,

We are writing to request that urgent attention be given to legislation to address the threats posed by white supremacist terrorism. First, we call on the Senate to reconvene to consider legislation already passed by the House to strengthen the background check system and enhance gun safety. 

Second, we believe that the relevant House and Senate Committees of jurisdiction should meet during the August recess, and that all other Members and Senators should be prepared to return to Washington as soon as a substantive, meaningful package to combat white supremacist terrorism is ready for consideration. We the undersigned stand ready to return to the Capitol before September 9 to take up this important work.

In the wake of the El Paso shootings, it is clear that terrorists motivated by a common white supremacist ideology are committing deadly attacks against African-American, Jewish, Muslim, Hispanic and other non-white communities in the United States and around the world, and that they pose a clear and present danger to our national security. There is legislation pending in the House and Senate, much of which should have bipartisan support, that would strengthen our government’s ability to confront domestic terrorism, while making it harder for terrorists to purchase guns. We should not wait until the district work period ends on September 9 to take action that will protect the American people.

Pending legislation includes the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would beef up the Justice and Homeland Security Department units responsible for addressing this threat, while improving collection of data. The No HATE Act, the Disarm Hate Act, and the Domestic Terrorism Data Act also seek to address some of the threats posed by violent extremism in the United States. Congress should further consider appropriating supplemental funds to both Departments so that they can meet the threat without reducing other essential counter-terrorism efforts. And we should consider passing a domestic terrorism statute, and new measures to combat the spread of hateful ideologies online.

We must also come together across party lines, as swiftly as possible, to condemn any political leader, movement, or media figure who echoes the beliefs these terrorists have repeatedly expressed, including that immigrants are “invading” the United States or set on “replacing” any of our citizens. This ideology is utterly contrary to America’s founding creed that all men and women are created equal, and to our experience as a nation built by, and benefiting from, the contributions of immigrants from every part of the world.

We should take the threat posed by white supremacist terrorists as seriously as we rightly take the threat posed by terrorists groups based outside the United States. Let us approach that work with the urgency it demands.

Sincerely,

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