US Senate Passes Bill to Combat Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
The Bill was cleared 94-1 on Thursday.
The US Senate passed a Bill to curb discrimination against Asian communities in the United States by an overwhelming majority, in a rare bipartisan vote on Thursday, 22 April.
The Bill was cleared 94-1, with Republican Senator Josh Hawley being the only person to have opposed it.
It directs the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to raise awareness and expedite the review of hate crimes during the pandemic, and work with law enforcement agencies to ensure online reporting, reported CNN.
The Senate vote comes amid an uptick in hate crimes against Asians, fuelled by former president Trump's anti-China rhetoric and the origin of the pandemic. According to a recent report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at San Bernardino's California State University, crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) surged by nearly 150% even though overall hate crimes in the United States had fallen slightly in 2020.
Ahead of the vote on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Racism has always existed in America unfortunately and the legacy of anti-Asian sentiment goes back centuries to dark chapters in our history, like the Chinese-exclusion act and the internment of Japanese citizens during World War I."
He further added, “By passing this Bill, the Senate makes it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group has no place in America. Bigotry against one is bigotry against all.”
The Bill now awaits clearance from the House before being signed into law by President Joe Biden.
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