In the last week or so, we have seen proposals from three members of Congress to create a new federal crime of “domestic terrorism.” While this idea has been around for a while now, these bills from Rep. Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Weber (R-TX), and Sen. McSally (R-AZ) appear to be a direct response to this month’s violence in El Paso, where a white supremacist targeting the Latinx community killed 22 people and wounded 27 others. We agree with Schiff, Weber, and McSally that the threat of white supremacist violence is real, and that the federal government must do more to address it. But new criminal laws are not the answer. In a country with a broken criminal justice system and national security policies that not only target specific communities, but that are also excessive and unjust, the last thing we need is more criminalization and securitization. The federal government already has all the tools it needs to address white supremacist violence. The problem is that they don’t seem to be using them, and if they are, they are not doing enough to show the general public how they are being used. Oversight and accountability, not more unchecked power, is what federal authorities need right now.

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