Congress approves Asian hate crime bill

The House of Representatives has approved legislation targeting hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in a bipartisan, 364-62 vote.

The bill aims to expedite the Justice Department’s review of hate crimes and make grants available to local law enforcement agencies to improve investigations and incident reporting. It comes in response to the rise in reports of AAPI hate crime during the coronavirus pandemic.

President Joe Biden said he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

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What has been the reaction to the bill? Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., who led efforts to pass the bill, said it would prevent law enforcement from underreporting incidents of violence against Asians.

However, more than 100 activist groups signed a statement opposing the bill, claiming it relies too heavily on law enforcement as a solution.

Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., was cautiously optimistic, but voiced a deeper concern: “I’m glad Congress is coming together in a bipartisan way. Let’s also recognize that we cannot legislate hate out of our people’s hearts and minds.”

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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