What is the Biden government doing to combat anti-Asian hate crimes?

The DOJ says the federal government response involves law enforcement actions, training, support, and outreach to local AAPI communities.

The Department of Justice held a listening session with more than a dozen Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community groups as part of its continuing efforts to deter hate crimes and other unlawful acts against the AAPI community, and issued the statement below.

“No one in America should fear violence because of who they are, what they look like or what part of the world they or their families came from,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin, the host of the meeting.  “The Department of Justice and our component agencies are committed to bringing all of our tools to bear in supporting AAPI communities as we address the horrific rise in hate and bias incidents occurring across the country.”

The listening session follows a meeting Carlin had earlier this week with key U.S. Attorneys in districts around the country with significant AAPI populations including:

  • Northern District of California (San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland)
  • Central District of California (Los Angeles)
  • Southern District of Texas (Houston)
  • Northern District of Illinois (Chicago)
  • Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

Carlin requested feedback from each district’s work on AAPI-related hate crimes and incidents including cases trends, community outreach efforts and data collection. 

Additional Background

On January 26, 2021, President Biden issued the “Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States,” which mandates that the “Attorney General shall:

–explore opportunities to support, consistent with applicable law, the efforts of State and local agencies, as well as AAPI communities and community-based organizations, to prevent discrimination, bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against AAPI individuals, and

–expand collection of data and public reporting regarding hate incidents against such individuals.

Since the signing of that memo the department has been working to combat discrimination and violence through both direct federal law enforcement action and capacity building, training, support, and outreach to our partners in state and local law enforcement and the AAPI community.

The department has investigated complaints of discrimination and violence against the AAPI community on all fronts – ranging from employment or housing discrimination to reported assaults.

The department has monitored reports by organizations like the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON) and Stop AAPI Hate, as well as media reporting, to identify which might be actionable under federal hate crime statutes.

DOJ hosted Hate Crime Forums aimed at state and local law enforcement, attorneys, community members, community advocacy organizations, and other groups, to provide education raise awareness about hate crimes investigations, challenges and available resources.

DOJ’s Community Relations Service is working with community-based groups including youth, faith leaders, cultural leaders, and civil rights organizers from API, Black, and Latino communities to reduce racial tensions and prevent violence.

DOJ is just getting started. Among other things, DOJ plans to make clear that this issue is among our highest priority, engage in increased outreach, and dedicate resources to combat the threat.  On that front, we plan to:

–Launch a new community outreach and engagement program designed to improve identifying, reporting, and preventing hate crimes and build trust with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement;

–Translate our hate crimes resources website and complaint portal to the four most common AAPI languages, beginning with Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) and conduct outreach to reach those limited English proficient communities; Work with state victims’ programs to help them address hate crimes;

–Establish a new grant program to help states, localities, and tribal law enforcement agencies to conduct educational outreach and training on hate crimes and to investigate and prosecute hate crimes;

–Launch a new Hate Crimes program under the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Hate Crimes Program to support funds and training and technical assistance to support outreach, education, reporting, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. – Department of Justice

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