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“Although we do not yet understand the motive, as I said last week, we strongly condemn the ongoing crisis of gender-based and anti-Asian violence that has long plagued our nation,” Biden said in a statement.
It was also approved the day after a Congressional hearing on violence against Asian Americans, the first in 34 years.
Biden and several lawmakers and activists at Thursday’s hearing urged Congress to pass the hate crime law introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, DN.Y., and Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, earlier this month.
Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, is seen during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland, who has been appointed Attorney General, on Monday, February 22, 2021.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
A study by the Stop AAPI Hate advocacy group published on Tuesday recorded 3,795 reports of hate incidents against Asian Americans and islanders in the Pacific between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
Incidents include verbal abuse, physical assault, workplace discrimination, and online harassment, among others. Many of the incidents were reported retrospectively from 2020.
The group stresses that the record represents only a fraction of the number of hate incidents Asian Americans have experienced across the country.
Some political leaders and supporters noted during the congressional hearing that hate crime legislation does not necessarily affect all forms of hatred that Asian Americans experience.
At a press conference in Atlanta Thursday morning, Georgian MP Bee Nguyen said: “Laws against hate crimes are not preventive. They will subsequently be used as a law enforcement tool.”
Prosecuting hate crimes requires law enforcement to find evidence that incidents are racially motivated.
“While many of the recent anti-Asian incidents may not fit the legal definition of a hate crime, these attacks nonetheless create an unacceptable environment of fear and terror in Asian American communities,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn House Hearing.