According to advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate, 3,800 hate incidents directed towards Asian Americans have been recorded in the past year, compared to around 100 incidents annually before the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, The Senate passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act by 94 votes to 1, in a rare showing of bipartisan support.
In summary, the bill will:
- Expedite the Department of Justice’s review into hate crimes and means a designated official will be brought in specifically to oversee it
- Establish funding grants for local and state governments to improve training on hate crimes for law enforcement officials
- Improve and raise awareness of hate crime reporting
- Establish hate crime hotlines
- Allow for rehabilitation of those convicted of such crimes
A surge in anti-asian sentiment across the U.S. has sent shockwaves through Asian-American communities, the source of which is thought to be linked to the fact that the pandemic supposedly originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019. While Democrats and Republicans appear united in helping this bill go through, many of these communities are still reeling from former President Trump’s unwavering rhetoric last year about what he called the ‘Chinese Virus’.
“I’m going to show you what patriotism looks like.”
Just last month Lee Wong, an elected official in West Chester, Ohio and US Army veteran, took off his shirt in a local town hall meeting to reveal scars that he had received during his 20 years of service. Condemning racist violence against immigrants like himself, his simple message was: “I’m going to show you what patriotism looks like.”
The bill will need to go for a full house vote in a few weeks, before going to President Biden to be signed into law. The hope is that this legislation will be one step towards bringing down Asian-directed hate brought out by the pandemic and go some way in preventing incidents such as the mass shooting that happened in Georgia in March. The eight victims of the attack included six women of Asian descent.
If you have experienced a hate incident, you can report it and seek further information at https://stopaapihate.org/
The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Get in touch with our team if you need any advice regarding your own immigration situation.