Biden Signs COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill Into Law

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President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act that overwhelmingly passed Congress in a rare show of bipartisanship.

“Silence is complicity and we cannot be complicit. We have to speak out. We have to act,” Biden told lawmakers. “That’s what you’ve done. And I can’t thank you enough. I’m proud today.”

President Joe Biden speaks before signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, on May 20, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 94-1 in April and the House of Representatives by 364-62 earlier this month. Both chambers are narrowly controlled by Democrats.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono and Democratic Representative Grace Meng, designates a Justice Department employee to expedite a review of hate crimes reported to police during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It would also provide guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes, expand public education campaigns and issue guidance to combat discriminatory language in describing the pandemic.



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