Biden signs bill to counter spike in anti-Asian hate crime

President Joe Biden has signed legislation intended to curtail a dramatic rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Via AP news wire
Thursday 20 May 2021 21:34
Biden
Biden

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation to curtail a dramatic rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and expressed pride that lawmakers who seem to agree on little else came together against hate and racism.

Biden lavished praise on Democrats and Republicans for approving the bill by lopsided margins and sending it to the White House for his signature. Several dozen lawmakers attended the bill signing ceremony, one of the largest groups to visit the Biden White House during the pandemic.

The House approved the bill 364-62 this week, following the Senate's 94-1 vote in April.

Biden, who stressed his wish to help unite the country as he campaigned for office, said during the East Room event that fighting hate and racism should bring people together.

“I'm proud today of the United States,” he said.

The new law will expedite Justice Department reviews of hate crimes by putting an official in charge of the effort. Federal grants will be available to help local law enforcement agencies improve their investigation, identification and reporting of bias-driven incidents, which often go underreported.

Some activists opposed the legislation's reliance on law enforcement.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris who is Black and Indian, discussed reports of stabbings, shootings and other attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals and their businesses since the start of the pandemic a little over a year ago.

Harris said such incidents had increased six-fold during that time.

She said that while the new law brings the U.S. closer to stopping hate, “the work to address injustice, wherever it exists, remains the work ahead.”

The bill-signing scene was reminiscent of pre-pandemic times, and the bill itself marked a fleeting moment of bipartisanship in a Congress that has struggled all year to overcome partisan gridlock over issues ranging from COVID-19 aid to the definition of “infrastructure.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and more than 60 guests from Congress, the Justice Department, and advocacy groups, along with White House aides, mingled freely and barefaced due to new public health guidance that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can stop wearing face masks while indoors with other fully vaccinated people.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican lawmaker seen in the audience.

At the end of the program, lawmakers who led the effort to get the bill passed surrounded Biden as he sat at a desk and signed it into law.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in