WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives on May 18 voted 364-62 to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.).
The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 94-1 in April, will help to address the alarming surge in anti-Asian violence that has occurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by improving hate crime tracking and reporting and providing resources to victims of hate crimes.
The bill also includes the text of the bipartisan Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.). CAPAC members and House leaders released the following statements:
“After a year in which we have seen over 6,600 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate, the House and Senate have taken bipartisan action to help stop anti-Asian hate crimes,” said Rep. Chu, CAPAC chair. “The fact that the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act has gained such widespread support shows the Asian American community that we are not alone in combatting violence and bigotry.
“But we cannot fight hate crimes without fully understanding the scope of the problem. That is why we need more tracking and reporting of these incidents, which is exactly what this bill will do. The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act would help improve our hate crimes response by creating a new position at the U.S. Department of Justice to better track and address hate crimes and incidents.
“And it also includes the text of my bipartisan bill, the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which will strengthen hate crimes reporting by state and local law enforcement through the implementation of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). And, crucially, it provides resources to support victims of hate crimes.
“This is not about more policing. It’s about making sure the police are prepared to respond when a hate crime victim comes to them for help. I am so grateful to my CAPAC colleagues Rep. Meng and Sen. Hirono for their leadership in passing this bill and for giving us the tools to help protect our communities from hate.”
“The epidemic of anti-AAPI violence is a challenge to the conscience of our country, and with today’s vital vote, Congress is taking bold, effective action to strengthen our nation’s defenses against hate crimes, save countless lives and advance justice,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). “Thanks to the tireless leadership of Congresswoman Grace Meng, Chairs Judy Chu and Jerry Nadler, Congressman Don Beyer and CAPAC, our nation is better equipped to prevent, report and combat anti-AAPI bigotry and violence. Democrats look forward to seeing this vital legislation signed swiftly into law, empowering our nation to combat hate crimes not only during this pandemic, but for years to come.”
“I am extremely thankful to see my measure pass the House today following last month’s passage in the Senate, and I am excited that it will soon be signed into law by the president,” said Rep. Meng. “I commend my colleagues in the House for taking action to combat the despicable and sickening acts of hate and violence against Asian Americans, and for having the Asian American community’s back as we fight this xenophobia and racist attacks. I am truly heartened to see so many of my colleagues stand against this bigotry and discrimination.
“Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scapegoated for the outbreak of COVID-19, and as a result Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed, spat on and even killed. The Asian American community is exhausted from being forced to endure this ongoing racism and prejudice. Asian Americans are tired of living in fear, and being frightened about their kids or elderly parents going outside.
“There have been over 6,600 reported acts of such violence with over two-thirds being reported by women. And those are just the reported numbers. As I have said, everybody in our country deserves to feel safe, and that includes the Asian American community.
“ I want to especially thank Sen. Hirono for partnering with me to sponsor this legislation, as well as Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader (Chuck) Schumer for making the bill’s passage in Congress a reality, and strongly standing with the Asian American community during this difficult time.”
“Over the past year, the AAPI community has experienced a horrifying rise in hate crimes and incidents driven by racist and discriminatory language during the pandemic,” said Sen. Hirono. “House passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on a strong bipartisan vote today sends a powerful, unified message that the United States Congress stands in solidarity with the AAPI community as we confront this epidemic of intolerance and hate.”
“After a year of unfathomable suffering and rising hate crimes against the Asian American community, passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act through Congress sends a strong and resolute message that our entire nation is committed to ending AAPI hate,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). “I’m proud to have helped Sen. Hirono introduce this important legislation in the Senate to strengthen our enforcement of existing hate crime laws and support victims of this senseless, misguided violence. It is long past time to break the cycle of discrimination against Asian Americans and I look forward to President Biden signing this legislation into law.”
“With the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act today, the House of Representatives has taken a vital step toward addressing the full scope of the disturbing rise in hate crimes in America — particularly against Asian Americans,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). “The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act sends a clear message to those in our country who wish to harm their fellow citizens: Hate has no home here. Everyone deserves to live without fear of violence against themselves and their families, and this bill is crucial to overcoming this era of hate.
“I thank Speaker Pelosi for bringing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to the floor, Reps. Grace Meng and Don Beyer for introducing the bills, and Rep. Judy Chu for all of her work advocating for the AAPI community. I look forward to seeing President Biden sign this legislation into law as soon as possible.”
“There have been more than 6,600 incidents of anti-AAPI violence in our country since the pandemic first started — these were fueled by the racist rhetoric of Trump and his Republican enablers. With the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, we can finally take an important step toward addressing this injustice,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside), CAPAC second vice chair. “Asian Americans have been deeply hurt by these vile, racist attacks, and it’s critical that we do the work to help our community heal and provide them with the support and resources they need to combat these crimes and get justice.
“I’m grateful that this bill passed Congress with strong bipartisan support and that it’s finally on its way to President Biden’s desk. The president has indicated that he will sign this bill without delay to get AAPIs the support they deserve.”
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest increasing group in America,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), CAPAC whip. “Unfortunately, there were more than 6,600 reported hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the last year. I’m pleased to support today’s bipartisan passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which will ensure better tracking and reporting of hate crimes and provide more support for victims. I look forward to seeing President Biden sign this bill into law.”
“The legislation we pass today will truly help strengthen America’s response to the rising scourge of hate crimes,” said Rep. Beyer. “In the five years since I first introduced the NO HATE Act, which is now part of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, so many people have worked to make it a better bill and get it over the finish line, and to them I am grateful. Foremost among them are the family members of Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer, who are in my thoughts now.
“I fervently hope and believe that this bill, once enacted, will help to spare other families the pain that they have felt. Congress’ passage of this legislation will show that we can accomplish big things, still, when we work together and put the American people’s needs first.”
“The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is proud to endorse the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community,” said Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), chairman of the CHC. “The escalation of hate crimes over the last several years and the alarming rise in attacks against Asian Americans is unconscionable and unacceptable. I would like to thank Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Congressman Don Beyer, and CAPAC Chair Judy Chu for their leadership in demanding robust and immediate action to stem the tide of anti-Asian hate.”
“By passing this critical civil rights legislation, we are taking a first step in making it clear to our Asian American and Pacific Islander siblings across the country who are reeling from the uptick in racism, discrimination, hate, and violence that we are visible, we matter, and we too are America,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who is also a member of CAPAC. “We must continue the urgent work necessary in Congress, in our communities, and throughout the country to put an end to this hate once and for all.”