Story at a glance

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed a new bill to create new reporting methods for anti-Asian hate crimes.
  • Improved data collection will help law enforcement track and understand each incident.
  • This follows a shooting at a nail salon in Georgia in which six Asian women were killed.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed new legislation on Tuesday that would emphasize and accelerate investigations of reported hate crimes against Asian Americans, spurred by the jump in incidents reported as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) in March 2021, the bill swiftly made its way through both chambers of Congress, arriving in the House of Representatives on April 26. 

The vote was a reported 364-62, with all opposition votes coming from Republican members, per The Washington Post.

Dubbed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, it would establish an online hate crime reporting process and associated guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice and collect this data to help investigate the incidents while working to expand public education campaigns against anti-Asian racism.


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The bill also establishes grants for states to create new hotlines and reporting systems, and it notably offers offenders to be granted supervised release provided the convicted offender attends educational reform classes.

The surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans stems from a misguided notion that Asian people are responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic, which was first detected in Wuhan, China. 

Speaking on the House floor, Representative Judy Chu (D-Calif.), one of the bill’s sponsors, described recent attacks — perhaps most notably in Atlanta nail salons where six Asian women were murdered — as proof of the need for advanced reporting and focus on these instances. 

“After a year in which we've seen 6,600 reported anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents, and after a year of the Asian-American community crying out for help, today, Congress is taking historic action to pass long-overdue hate crimes legislation,” she said. 

The bill is now headed to President Biden’s desk for ratification into law.


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Published on May 18, 2021