Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to formally request to President Donald Trump to allocate funds that he wanted to use to construct a border wall toward something more necessary: programs aimed at reducing gun violence, and adequately addressing the rise of white supremacy in the U.S.
“The dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism in this country are a national security threat plain and simple, and it’s time the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress starting treating them as such,” Schumer recently said in a statement, per reporting from the Washington Post.
Yet the president isn’t likely to take such action, as border wall construction between the U.S. and Mexico has long been a priority for Trump. Addressing gun violence or white supremacy, too, may not come so easily.
The administration has not been too keen to target or even acknowledge the rise in violent behaviors by extremists in far-right movements, including white supremacists. Notably, the administration itself did not want to include discussion of domestic terrorism (as it pertained to white nationalist) in a Department of Homeland Security report addressing counterterrorism in the U.S, CNN reported earlier this month.
Two years after the deadly Charlottesville rally it has only become more clear how much more we must do to fight hate in our country.
We honor all those who were injured and killed by continuing the fight against bigotry and white supremacy.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 13, 2019
“Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism,” one source explained to the news agency. “The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on.”
At the same time, the growth of white supremacist movements cannot be ignored by the rest of society — its impact is being felt, in particular when individuals lash out in violent ways. The shooter in El Paso, Texas, earlier this month, who killed 22 individuals, admitted to harboring such views and targeted Mexicans in his rampage.
White supremacy’s rise is being noted in other ways, too. One study from the Anti-Defamation League found that, from 2017 to 2018, distribution of white supremacist literature tripled from year-to-year, NBC News reported. The Southern Poverty Law Center also found that hate groups saw growth in their memberships of about 30 percent during that same time period.
Hate crimes in the U.S. have also been on the rise, climbing by 17 percent from 2016 to 2017, the most recent figures.