Wednesday, 12 May, 2021

Bill targeting hate crimes against Asian Americans passes Senate

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Gustavo Carr | 23 April, 2021, 09:51

Vice President Kamala Harris has partly attributed the recent increase in anti-Asian hate incidents to the former administration, noting former President Donald Trump and "people in position of incredible power" had scapegoated Asian Americans for the pandemic.

An estimated 3,800 hate crime incidents against people of Asian descent were recorded between March 19, 2020 - around when lock downs started - and February 28, 2021, according to the tracking initiative Stop AAPI Hate.

Unlike numerous larger policy issues Democrats hope to tackle in their new majority, efforts to combat the rising violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have nearly universal backing.

The legislation requires the Justice Department to conduct a review of hate crimes, and to provide guidance to state and local governments to enable them to establish online reporting of hate crimes and expand public education campaigns to raise awareness of such assaults.

The bill garnered bipartisan support and passed 94-1 on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, heralded its passage as a message to bigots: 'we're going after you'. The hate crimes legislation is the first byproduct of that agreement. Two Democratic senators and three Republicans did not vote.

The bill now heads to the House, where it is likely to pass. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden have both expressed support for the legislation.

Hawley said last week that he planned to vote no on the measure calling it 'too open ended, ' according to CNN. The violence against Asian Americans became a national talking point after racist attacks against elderly Asian Americans proliferated the news earlier this year.

"Earnest bipartisan conversations have improved this legislation considerably behind the scenes", Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week. Hirono worked closely with Sen.

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The revised bill would also replace language in the original legislation that called for "guidance describing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic".

Congress has faced pressure to address the spike in anti-Asian hate over the pandemic. Susan Collins of Maine.

Republicans agreed to back the bill after the Senate also voted on and rejected a series of GOP amendments, including efforts to prevent discrimination against Asian Americans in college admissions and reporting about restrictions on religious exercise during the pandemic.

Only one Republican, Missouri Sen.

The only vote in opposition came from Republican Sen.

Democrats like Hirono hailed the bill as an incentive for the federal government to make "informed decisions" about biases against Asian Americans even when "people's hearts and minds" won't change.

'Such statements have stoked unfounded fears and perpetuated stigma about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and have contributed to increasing rates of bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against AAPI persons, ' it continued.

"For more than a year, Asian Americans all across our nation have been screaming out for help", Meng said, and the Senate showed that "they heard our pleas".