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Biden hails Senate passage of anti-Asian crimes bill

All News 01:20 April 24, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday welcomed the passage by the Senate of a ground-breaking anti-hate crimes bill, noting Asian Americans have faced injustice and inequality for too long.

"Too often throughout our history, acts of hate and violence directed at Asian Americans have been met with silence," Biden said in a released statement. "Our nation must stand together to speak out against hate, and declare unequivocally: These acts are wrong. They are un-American. And they must stop."

The statement came one day after the Senate overwhelmingly passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act by a 94-1 vote.

The bill, if enacted, would allow expedited federal government investigation into hate incidents targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

"I applaud the United States Senate and the leadership of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) for passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act by an overwhelming margin," the president said in his statement. The bill was introduced by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng of New York, both Democrats.

"This critical legislation will bring our nation one step closer to achieving justice and equality for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities," Biden added.

Anti-Asian crimes have been on a surge since the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the United States, with some 3,800 such incidents reported in 2020 alone, according to Vice President Kamala Harris.

Harris has partly attributed the increase to former President Donald Trump, who had frequently called the coronavirus a "China virus" or "kung flu."

"They have been scapegoated, harassed, and assaulted; some have even been killed," Biden said of Asian Americans.

"It has been over a year of living in fear for their lives, as acts of anti-Asian bias and violence have accelerated from coast to coast -- an unconscionable burden our fellow Americans have been forced to bear, even as so many Asian Americans serve their communities and our nation tirelessly on the front lines of the pandemic."

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill early next month.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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