Administration

Justice Dept. pledges to address hate crimes against Asian Americans

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday pledged to tackle a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

The DOJ held a listening session with more than a dozen Asian American and Pacific Islander community groups as part of its ongoing effort to combat hate crimes, an event that came after acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin held a meeting with U.S. attorneys in districts around the country with large Asian American and Pacific Islander populations and senior leaders of the DOJ’s civil rights division. 

“No one in America should fear violence because of who they are, what they look like or what part of the world they or their families came from,” Carlin, the host of the listening session, said in a statement. “The Department of Justice and our component agencies are committed to bringing all of our tools to bear in supporting AAPI communities as we address the horrific rise in hate and bias incidents occurring across the country.”

The listening session comes amid an alarming spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a rise that was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.

More than 3,000 such crimes have been reported since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Democrats in 2020 began pushing for broader federal efforts to curb the trend. The House last fall passed a resolution authored by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) denouncing “all forms of anti-Asian sentiment” relating to the coronavirus.

“What is happening is a complete and total disgrace. Cut it out. And we want to make sure that those who are perpetrating this violence are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), the Democratic Caucus chairman, said last month.

President Biden has also made the issue a priority, ordering the DOJ in January to “explore opportunities to support, consistent with applicable law, the efforts of State and local agencies, as well as AAPI communities and community-based organizations, to prevent discrimination, bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against AAPI individuals.”

Tags AAPI Discrimination Grace Meng Hakeem Jeffries Hate crime Joe Biden White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

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