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Bipartisan lawmakers call for action on anti-hate crime measures

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A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers are pushing for legislative action to combat the uptick in hate crimes seen in the United States.

In the latest calls for action to be taken to prevent racially motivated crimes, lawmakers introduced the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act on Thursday.

The legislation looks to improve the mechanism for reporting hate crimes, providing grants through the Department of Justice to state and local law enforcement to enhance their systems of providing hate crime data to the relevant national systems such as the FBI. 

The bill would also provide resources for the purposes of training law enforcement officials and for the creation of a hate crime hotline, in addition to additional assistance for investigations and educational programs.

The efforts on the legislation are being led by Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Fred Upton (R-Mich), and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in the upper chamber.

Proponents of the measure noted the increase in violence against the Asian community in recent months, including the murder of eight victims, six of which were Asian women, at spas in Atlanta last month. Supporters of the bill argue the Atalanta shooting in addition to recent attacks on Asian Americans in cities across the country clearly demonstrate the need for Congress to take action.

“The Asian American community has been raising the alarm about a horrifying wave of hate crimes across the country, and Congress must respond by passing the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act,” Beyer said in a statement.

“As we try to make sense of the awful tragedy in Atlanta, it is an undeniable fact that this horrible mass shooting took place against a backdrop of rising anti-Asian violence and rhetoric. History tells us that many hate crimes will not be reported to the FBI, and it is more important than ever that Congress fix this problem. And it is vital that leaders across the country condemn this wave of hate crimes against Asian Americans.”

Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus met with the victims of the Atlanta shooting while calling attention to anti-Asian hate in the United States late last month.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who met with family members of the victims of the Atlanta shooting during a trip with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, is also expected to push for the passage of his resolution calling on the administration to create a Department of Reconciliation, which he feels will help alleviate racism and discrimination in the United States.

“We need a Department of Reconciliation just as we have a Department of Labor to deal with labor issues, we have a Department of Commerce to deal with economic issues, we have the Department of Defense to help us with defending the country — we need the Department of Reconciliation with a secretary of reconciliation, who goes to work every day, try to bring this country together,” he told The Hill in an interview, adding he feels it would help provide a “systemic approach to resolve a systemic problem.”

Green also called for the Atlanta spa shooter — who denied the shooting was racially motivated — to be charged with a hate crime in addition to the murder and aggravated assault charges, arguing action should be taken to ensure those targeting individuals because of their race should be held fully accountable.

“If Georgia can’t charge them with a hate crime, then there’s something wrong with the law, as the facts speak for themselves,” he said.

A study released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism in March showed a nearly 150 percent increase in crimes targeting Asian individuals.

Tags Al Green anti-Asian hate crimes Atlanta spa shootings Fred Upton Hate crime Jerry Moran Judy Chu Vern Buchanan
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