WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after attending the White House signing ceremony of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, legislation introduced by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). This legislation will improve the Justice Department’s response to the appalling rise in hate incidents targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and provide state and local law enforcement with guidance and tools to better track and address hate crimes and hate incidents. The legislation also incorporates the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act, a bill introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and long co-sponsored by Durbin that will improve hate crimes reporting and expand resources for victims of hate crimes.

“In the wake of COVID-19, we saw an appalling rise in hate incidents targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Our friends and neighbors in the AAPI community are facing an imminent threat. I’m pleased that Congress was able to come together on a bipartisan basis and take action to protect them. And I want to personally commend my colleagues, Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, for their leadership on this issue.

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“But there is more the federal government can, and should, do. I hope we can seize on this bipartisan momentum to further address the broader threats of hate crimes and domestic terrorism.”

Between March 2020 and February 2021, the Stop AAPI Hate Initiative documented nearly 3,800 hate incidents targeting AAPI Americans. And a recent analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that while hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities decreased overall by seven percent in 2020, those targeting Asian Americans increased by nearly 150 percent.

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