THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today, the Senate held a historic and long-overdue vote on hate crimes legislation. I applaud the Senate for passing this crucial measure, and recognize the efforts of Senator Kennedy on this important issue. This amendment recognizes that hate crimes are different from other crimes. When Americans are targeted just because of who they are -- whether because of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability -- they hurt more. These crimes affect entire communities and strike at the heart of our American system of values. This important legislation sends a message that everyone is protected under the law.
This legislation also recognizes that state and local law enforcement still have primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. It provides much-needed assistance for state and local law enforcement agencies. It provides financial assistance through grants and help with investigations and prosecutions so that federal, state, and local law enforcement can work together to ensure that perpetrators of hate crimes are brought to justice. In addition, the legislation ensures that federal law enforcement officers confer with state and local law enforcement before bringing a case in federal court.
Today, a majority of the Senate has spoken. We must all work together to ensure that this amendment is not removed during conference. I urge all members of Congress to send me this legislation to sign into law.