A hate crimes bill to combat violence against Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic passed the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly on Tuesday (May 18) and will now head to President Joe Biden for signing.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act passed by a 364-62 vote.
Reports of violence against Asian Americans have spiked since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Activists and police said anti-Asian sentiment was fed by comments from former President Donald Trump blaming the pandemic on China using terms such as “kung flu.”
The measure, authored by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Grace Meng, designates a Justice Department employee to expedite a review of hate crimes reported to police during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides guidance for local law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes, expand public education campaigns and combat discriminatory language in describing the pandemic.
(Production: Kristin Neubauer)