Attacks on Hispanics grew 40 percent from 2003 to 2007, outpacing the estimated 16 percent increase in the Hispanic population in the U.S. From 2000 to 2007 hate crimes increased against Hispanics annually from 602 in 2000 to 888 in 2007.

Experts say the increase in violence targeting Hispanics nationally is likely even larger because hate crimes are underreported, especially in immigrant communities where residents have an inherent distrust of law enforcement agencies.