Hate crimes and other discrimination against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to ensure that the Dept. of Justice and law enforcement organizations across the country work actively to understand and respond to this issue. Additionally, in light of the impact of language blaming Chinese people and Asians for the pandemic, it’s important for the federal government to issue guidance on mitigating the effects of this inflammatory language.
Existing hate crime laws already take current events and discrimination into account, punishing perpetrators who commit crimes against specific groups of people due to their identities appropriately, so there no need for this legislation. President Joe Biden already signed a Presidential Memorandum condemning racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and directing federal agencies to lead nationwide efforts to stop anti-Asian bias, xenophobia, and harassment. Alternatively, there is not enough data to be sure that hate crimes against Asians have risen during the pandemic, and Congress shouldn’t act on this issue until the Dept. of Justice conducts an appropriate review to verify that Asian-Americans are in fact being discriminated against during the pandemic.