Washington: US President Joe Biden signs new legislation to check the sudden increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that he feels hopeful that such crimes would be actively reported through the legislation.
Biden said that the law would provide resources to form specialised units to help the states create hotline at state and local levels. It would be accessible for everyone, including people with low English language proficiency. It will provide resources for law enforcement to identify, investigate, and report such crimes, he added in his statement after signing the legislation.
Biden further said that, though laws can help, American people have to "change their heart" and purge their minds to root out hate. "Hate can be given no harbour in America," he said. He urged people to speak up and speak out.
The bill was introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Grace Meng in the House. It was incorporated the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act. Earlier last week, the House of Representatives had passed the Senate-approved version of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act with a massive bipartisan vote.
Christine Chen, director of APIAVote, said that the bill would require the Department of Justice to expedite the review of Covid-19 related hate crimes. It will check the undercounting of hate crimes against Asian Americans and improve the infrastructure needed for hate crime reporting, data collection and justice. It could expand public awareness campaigns to outreach victims etc., she added. APIAVote is a nonpartisan organisation in the US working in mobilising Asians in electoral and civic participation.
After the pandemic breakout, Asian American and Pacific Islander community had experienced an alarming rise in hate crimes, including incidents driven by racist and inflammatory language.