May 18, 2021
Press Release
One in three Asian Americans have reported experiencing a racial slur since the pandemic began; incidents of hate up 75%

(Washington D.C.) Today, Congressman Joe Morelle voted to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, critically important legislation to combat the alarming rise of hate, violence, and discrimination the Asian American-Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has faced throughout the pandemic.

“Over the past year, we have witnessed a disturbing rise in violence and discrimination against AAPI Americans that undermines the fundamental values of equality and inclusivity our nation has always stood for,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “But those who seek to divide us with acts of hatred will never succeed. That is why I am proud to stand in solidarity with our Asian-American community and vote to enact this important legislation that will help crack down on hate crimes that have no place in our society.”

Numerous reports have shown that acts of hate against the AAPI community have risen around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to  Pew Research, nearly one in three Asian Americans have reported experiencing racial slurs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate also showed that hate incidents against the AAPI community are up nearly 75% since the pandemic began.

Specifically, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, would help the Department of Justice better respond to and prevent hate crimes by:

  • Working to fix reporting problems at the local level by requiring the Attorney General to issue guidance for the creation of online reporting mechanisms and the collection of data
  • Improving hate crime reporting by supporting the full implementation of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), a system which allows law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes to the FBI.
  • Supporting law enforcement agencies that establish a policy on identifying, investigating, and reporting hate crimes; train officers on how to identify hate crimes accurately; develop a system for collecting hate crimes data; and establish a hate crimes unit within the agency.
  • Strengthening the Attorney General’s ability to ensure law enforcement grantees report on their progress reporting hate crimes and requires the Attorney General to collect and analyze the information to better mitigate hate crimes.

This legislation has also been passed by the U.S. Senate and will now be sent to President Biden for consideration.