Biden denounces Asian hate crimes, signs bill into law

In a uncommon second of public emotion, President Biden on Thursday grew visibly indignant when discussing racial discrimination earlier than signing a brand new federal hate crimes bill designed to launch a federal crackdown.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act handed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. It was prompted by an increase in hate crimes in opposition to Asians through the pandemic, which began in China.

“We’re unique among all nations in that we are uniquely a product of a document, not an ethnicity, not a religion, not a geography — a document,” Biden mentioned within the White House East Room.

“Think about this, I’m being literal — uniquely a product of a document that says, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness’.” he mentioned in his typical gravely voice.

President Joe Biden speaks before signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act handed with overwhelming bipartisan assist.
Evan Vucci/AP

Biden then abruptly raised his voice.

“Every time we’re silent, every time we let hate flourish, we make a lie of who we are as a nation,” Biden shouted.

“We cannot let the very foundation of this country continue to be eaten away like it has been in other moments in our history and is happening again. I looked at this law that y’all passed as maybe the first break, the first significant break in a moment when our history, it has to be turned around.”

President Joe Biden talks with Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, before signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
President Joe Biden talks with Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, earlier than signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on Thursday, May 20, 2021.
Evan Vucci/AP

The occasion was attended by 68 largely unmasked members of Congress because the White House returns to extra regular operations as COVID-19 vaccinations enhance.

The bill-signing was cheered on social media by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“I applaud @POTUS for signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. Recent increases in anti-Asian hate crimes are alarming. I’m proud the Senate took bipartisan action — and, as the proud husband of a remarkable Asian-American woman, I am especially glad this effort is now law,” McConnell wrote.

President Joe Biden signs the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law
President Joe Biden signs the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law within the East Room of the White House on May 20, 2021.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The bill handed the Senate with a single “no” vote from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who mentioned it will “give the federal government open-ended authority to define a whole new class of federal hate crime incidents.” In the House, 62 Republicans voted in opposition to it.

Assaulting somebody due to their race has been a federal crime since 1968, however the bill seeks to spice up reporting of incidents and prosecutions. It applies to all federal hate crimes and never completely these concentrating on Asians.

It instructs the Justice Department to “designate an officer or employee” who will “facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes.”

The bill additionally orders the division to “expand public education campaigns aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes and reaching victims” and mandates a brand new on-line reporting system.

Vice President Kamala Harris looks on as President Joe Biden speaks before signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
President Joe Biden had a uncommon second of public emotion earlier than signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
Evan Vucci/AP

Some conservatives opposed the bill as a result of it additionally would set up grants to state and native governments to finance incident reporting and to “train employees in identifying and classifying hate crimes.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said he opposed the bill as a result of it “does nothing to protect any individual victim or any individual group” and that “what this is really about” is giving “a bunch of federal money out.”

The subject of anti-Asian hate crimes gained widespread public consideration in March following a capturing spree at three Atlanta-area therapeutic massage parlors that left eight useless, together with six Asian and Asian-American ladies.

The accused Atlanta shooter, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, allegedly told police he dedicated the crimes as a result of he’s hooked on intercourse and wished to take away a “temptation.” His motive stays a matter of public debate.

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