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Update: Biden signs COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law

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Update: Thursday, 5:09 p.m. President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law today.

 

First report: Tuesday, 7:16 p.m. The U.S. House voted 364-62 on Tuesday to pass legislation that would condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment, racism, and discrimination in the face of a troubling rise in COVID-19-related hate crimes.

Yes, all 62 votes against the bill were from Republicans.

A nationwide report from “Stop AAPI Hate” released in February 2021 found that Asian American and Pacific Islander community members were targeted in nearly 3,800 hate incidents across the country since March 2020.

The resolution passed today in the U.S. House calls on federal officials to address this rise in hate crimes in collaboration with state governments, local agencies, and AAPI community organizations.

It also calls on law enforcement organizations to expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes, harassment, bullying, and threats against AAPI communities.

“The recent uptick in hatred and bigotry directed against the AAPI community is abhorrent, and it is an affront to our American values. Elected officials have a responsibility to stand up for their constituents, and this resolution makes clear that hate crimes directed against our fellow Americans should never be tolerated,” Seventh District Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger said.

“In Central Virginia, our AAPI community makes us a stronger, more vibrant place to live. Their contributions should be celebrated, not targeted for derision — and they should never be subjected to discrimination, abuse, or threats. I have been proud to see the Central Virginia community rally around our AAPI neighbors in recent months, and I will continue to do everything in my power as a Member of Congress to speak out against these alarming incidents,” Spanberger said.

The legislation, which passed the Senate by a 94-1 vote last month, will now be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Details

The resolution:

  • Condemns all forms of anti-Asian sentiment — including racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and scapegoating — related to COVID–19;
  • Recognizes that the health and safety of all people of the United States, regardless of background, must be the utmost priority;
  • Calls on federal law enforcement officials, working with state and local agencies to expand data collection and reporting to document the rise in incidences of hate crimes relating to COVID–19, as well as hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring such perpetrators to justice;
  • Calls on the Attorney General to work with state and local agencies and AAPI community-based organizations to prevent discrimination, and expand culturally appropriate education campaigns on the public reporting of hate crimes;
  • Calls on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and AAPI community-based organizations, to issue guidance to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic; and
  • Recommits the United States to serve as a model in building a more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant society.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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