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Representatives Krishnamoorthi, Meng, Jeffries, Velázquez, And Van Drew Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Establish A National Commission On Hate Crimes In Response To Rising Anti-Asian Violence

March 15, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON –  Last week, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi introduced the Hate Crimes Commission Act with Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) as co-leads. The bill would create a bipartisan commission to investigate and expand reporting on hate crimes throughout the United States. This commission would be comprised of a group of 12 members appointed by House and Senate leadership who would have one year to prepare a report on the rise in hate crimes, potential causes of increase, and how to combat it. The introduction of the legislation follows independent reports of record numbers of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate incidents and a string of attacks in cities across the country.

This surge of violence against the AAPI community comes as FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned the public as to the broader growth of racially motivated domestic violent extremism and as hate crimes targeting the Jewish, Muslim, Latino, African-American, Sikh, Hindu, and LGBTQ communities have also increased in recent years. In 2019, 51 people died as a result of hate crimes in the United States, the highest figure recorded since the FBI began tracking such incidents.

“Over the past few years, our nation has experienced a disturbing increase in hate crimes and hate-motivated violence against a range of communities based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender,” said Krishnamoorthi. “During this pandemic in particular, we’ve witnessed a devastating surge in targeted harassment and violence against people of Asian descent which has left dozens injured, elders dead, and millions of Asian-Americans fearing for their safety. The scale of this epidemic of bigotry-driven crimes demands strong federal action, and while the Biden Administration has taken crucial steps to address it, this legislation will help shape our national efforts by bringing together experts from both the law enforcement and civil rights communities to analyze its causes and recommend the best path to end it.” 

“I’m honored to join Congressman Krishnamoorthi and help introduce the bipartisan Hate Crimes Commission Act of 2021, along with Representatives Velázquez, Jeffries, and Van Drew,” said Meng. “I am disturbed that hate crimes are underreported in this country, and for the last year Asian Americans have battled the COVID-19 crisis and racism. Despite a meteoric rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents, we do not have an accurate count of all cases. That is why we need to pass the Hate Crimes Commission Act to understand the nature and underreporting of these hate crimes, and to devise solutions to curb the trend.”

“Hate crimes have no place in the land of the free,” said Jeffries. “We must bring an end to this national embarrassment and get serious about finding real solutions to this worsening problem. I thank Congressman Krishnamoorthi for his leadership on this matter.”

Cosponsors of the legislation include Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, Carolyn B. Maloney, Thomas R. Suozzi, Tony Cárdenas, Ro Khanna, Eleanor Holmes Norton, André Carson, Gregory Meeks, Brendan F. Boyle, Earl Blumenauer, Debbie Dingell, Robin L. Kelly, Mary Gay Scanlon, Frank Pallone, Jr., Sean Patrick Maloney, David N. Cicilline and Veronica Escobar.