WASHINGTON — Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) released the following statement March 30 after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced an internal review into the ways the Department of Justice (DOJ) can improve and prioritize its investigations and prosecutions of hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community:

Merrick Garland

“The spike in anti-Asian American hate is a real — and deadly — national crisis. It’s time the DOJ bring to bear the full force of its resources to ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are swiftly brought to justice. I’m pleased that Attorney General Garland heeded my call and is taking initial steps to improve the DOJ’s investigations and prosecutions of these crimes against our fellow Americans.”

The announcement comes after Duckworth sent a letter to Garland asking that DOJ prioritize combatting hate crimes and violent acts against the AAPI community and moving forward, fully investigate and prosecute perpetrators of these hate crimes. This initiative by DOJ is part of President Biden’s push to implement a variety of programs designed to protect and empower the AAPI community.

“The AAPI community has endured a difficult, heart-wrenching year,” Duckworth said. “We were the target of hateful, offensive rhetoric from the previous president. We experienced a spike in hate crimes, violent assaults and discrimination. And we are still mourning a mass shooting where members of our community were targeted. There is no doubt that our community is still at risk.

“I applaud President Biden for recognizing our community’s pain and taking concrete actions to protect AAPI individuals from violence and root out anti-Asian bias while also supporting the victims of hate crimes.”

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