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President Biden signs anti-Asian hate crimes legislation amid surge of attacks on Asian Americans

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President Biden signs anti-Asian hate crimes legislation amid surge of attacks on Asian Americans

US President, Joe Biden on Thursday, May 20, signed into law anti-hate crime legislation in response to the surge of attacks on Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The newly enacted law, COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, would establish a position within the Justice Department centered on anti-Asian hate crimes and allocate resources to enhance state and local reporting.

Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of Asian descent to hold the office, opened the signing ceremony by thanking lawmakers present for their work including Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., who introduced the bill.

“To the members of our United States Congress on both sides of the aisle who helped pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, thank you,” Harris said first to applause. “Because of you, history will remember this day and this moment when our nation took action to combat hate.”

President Biden signs anti-Asian hate crimes legislation amid surge of attacks on Asian Americans

Biden said he hopes the signing ceremony, which comes during Asian American and Pacific Islander, or AAPI, Heritage Month, marks the end “first significant break” in a hyper-partisan era and sends this message to the Asian American community: “We see you.”

“For centuries, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, diverse and vibrant communities have helped build this nation only to be often stepped over, forgotten, or ignored,” he said. “My message to all of those who are hurting is, we see you. And the Congress has said, we see you. And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias.”

Biden said he hopes the signing ceremony, which comes during Asian American and Pacific Islander, or AAPI, Heritage Month, marks the end “first significant break” in a hyper-partisan era and sends this message to the Asian American community: “We see you.”

Hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans more than doubled in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

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