Mexico plans to strengthen a campaign that encourages citizens residing in the United States to report hate crimes after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, targeted Mexican immigrants, said the Mexican Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.
The social media campaign #DenounceHate seeks to encourage Mexican nationals living abroad to report hate crimes, as they are often afraid to speak out, said Julian Escutia, the head of the Directorate General for Protection of Mexicans Abroad.
On Aug. 3, a 21-year-old gunman opened fire at a Walmart mall in the U.S. city of El Paso which borders Mexico, killing 22 people, including eight Mexican citizens.
Minutes before the attack, the shooter, Patrick Crusius, posted a manifesto online that railed against Hispanic immigrants. Mexican authorities said the mass shooting was a terrorist attack against its citizens.
The governmental campaign was already active before the mass shooting, but Mexican authorities want to strengthen it given the rise of hate crimes, the ministry said.
The official said that the Mexican consular network in the United States is also working to train its staff to handle cases of hate crimes, cyberbullying, and attacks by extremist groups.
“People are scared, they do not approach authorities, and we want them to report something that we know is growing,” Escutia said.
The foreign ministry’s spokesperson, Roberto Velasco, said that Mexican officials met with diplomatic representatives from Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal on Aug. 16 to plan a joint defense of Hispanics in the United States.