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Mazie Hirono: Asian American, Pacific Islander community 'feels under siege' amid rise in hate crimes

Mazie Hirono: Asian American, Pacific Islander community 'feels under siege' amid rise in hate crimes
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Senate tries to shake off graveyard status Lawmakers brace for bitter fight over Biden tax plan MORE (D-Hawaii) said Monday that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community feels as if it is "under siege" in the U.S. amid a rise in anti-Asian discrimination and violence.

Speaking on "The View," Hirono touted her bill to appoint a Justice Department official to review hate crimes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which she said was necessary at a time "when the Asian American [and] Pacific Islander community feels under siege and vulnerable."

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Hirono added during the interview that she has taken steps personally to put herself on guard against being physically attacked after numerous reports of violent attacks targeting Asian Americans around the country.

"I used to walk around ... with, listening to audio tapes, etc. with my earpods on. I don't do that anymore," she said.

Hirono's bill to push the Justice Department to review hate crimes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic comes as Asian Americans have blamed rhetoric linking the virus to China and Asians in general for a rise in attacks targeting their communities. In several instances, suspects in such attacks have expressed language blaming Asian Americans for the pandemic.

President BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Argentina launches 'Green Mondays' campaign to cut greenhouse gases On The Money: Federal judge vacates CDC's eviction moratorium | Biden says he's open to compromise on corporate tax rate | Treasury unsure of how long it can stave off default without debt limit hike MORE's attorney general, Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden set to flex clemency powers Genetic material from 1993 killing revealed years after another man executed for crime, groups say Garland emphasizes national security, civil rights in budget hearing MORE, ordered a Justice Department review of the government's response to hate crimes last month amid an uptick in hate-related incidents.

"The recent rise in hate crime and hate incidents, particularly the disturbing trend in reports of violence against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community since the start of the pandemic, requires renewed energy," he wrote in a memo in late March.