Only Senator Josh Hawley, Republican from Missouri, opposed the legislation, arguing that it mandated an overly extensive collection of data on hate crimes that could lead to government excess.
Defeated Democrats a list of changes Proposed by Republicans, including one aimed at banning federal funding for universities that discriminate against Asian Americans – something that is already illegal. Another would have asked for a report on how the government enforced restrictions on gatherings of religious worship during the pandemic, and a third would have banned the Justice Department from tracking down cases of discrimination that did not result in crime. Ms. Hirono rejected the amendments as “harmful” and partisan.
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, a torrent of hatred and violence against people of Asian descent began in the United States last spring.
- Background: Community leaders say the bigotry was fueled by President Donald J. Trump, who often used racist languages like the “Chinese virus” to refer to the coronavirus.
- Data: The New York Times, which used media reports from across the country to get a feel for the rising tide of anti-Asian prejudice, found more than 110 episodes since March 2020 that contained clear indications of racial hatred.
- Underreported Hate crimes: The record may be a fraction of the violence and harassment given the general undercount of hate crimes, but the comprehensive survey captures the episodes of violence across the country, the number of which has increased under Mr Trump’s comments.
- In New York: A wave of xenophobia and violence was compounded by the economic fallout from the pandemic, which dealt a severe blow to the Asian-American communities in New York. Many community leaders say racist abuse is overlooked by the authorities.
- What happened in Atlanta:: Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in gunfights at massage parlors in Atlanta on March 16. The motives of the suspect, who was charged with murder, are being investigated, but Asian communities in the US are on high alert over a surge in attacks against Asian-American citizens last year.
Legislative efforts and debates to increase violence against Asian American citizens have not always been so bipartisan. In sometimes heated conversation, some Democratic lawmakers have accused Republicans of supporting and repeating President Donald J. Trump’s racist talk about the pandemic, including calling the coronavirus “kung flu”. The Republicans, in turn, have accused the Democrats of indulging in excessive political correctness and countered that the Democrats are more interested in attacking their news than combating violence.
After Texas representative Chip Roy, a senior Republican on the justice panel, used his opening remarks at a March hearing on anti-Asian discrimination to long condemn the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus, claiming that Democrats were “at the surveillance of freedom of speech, he faced a fiery setback.
“Your president, your party and your colleagues can discuss problems with any other country you want, but you don’t have to do this by looking the Asian Americans in this country in the eye, our grandparents about our children,” said Representative Grace Meng, Democrat of New York.
“This hearing should address the pain and agony of our community to find solutions,” she added, “and we will not let you take our voices away.”
Experts who testified before the panel told lawmakers that such language had contributed to an atmosphere of increasing animus against Asian-American citizens. The attacks on Asian-American citizens – including many women or the elderly – have increased by almost 150 percent in the past year, according to the experts.