Congress Passes Bill to Curtail Anti-Asian American Hate Crimes

The COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act will be sent to Biden's desk.

The COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act will be sent to Biden’s desk.

Due to COVID-19’s origins in China, the pandemic prompted a fresh wave of discrimination against Asian Americans, ranging from discrimination and inflammatory speech to outright violence. In an effort to combat anti-Asian American hate crimes, Congress has passed the COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act with a 364-62 vote in favor.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., who introduced the bill alongside Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, spoke about the trials the Asian American community has endured during the pandemic. “Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scapegoated for the outbreak of COVID-19, and as a result, Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed, spat on and even set on fire and killed,” she said. “The Asian American community is exhausted from being forced to endure this rise in bigotry and racist attacks. Asian Americans are tired of living in fear and being frightened about their kids or elderly parents going outside.”

“The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill will strengthen our defenses against any anti-AAPI violence, speeding our response to hate crime, supporting state and local governments as they improve reporting, and ensuring that they have crimes information and it’s more accessible to the Asian American communities,” Meng said on the floor.

The bill is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk to await signature.

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