Yes, this bill is only 24 pages’ long, but it does change a lot, especially about what we will know on hate crimes.
Let’s take a look at some key factors in this. First, the bill would create a new position at the Department of Justice that would expedite the process of, reporting of, and just the handling of cases involving hate crimes. Also, this bill will hand out grants to police and sheriff’s departments across the country to help train them and help them report hate crime data in a more — a more able way than they are right now.
Finally, in terms of grants, this bill will also offer grants to states and others across the country to put up new hate crimes hot lines to help people report.
Fundamentally, a lot of what this bill is trying to do is to understand the problem itself. For years, there is a sense by many in the community, including academics, that hate crimes are underreported in this country, that people don’t talk about them, and also that police may not recognize or report them in large degree.
So, this report — this bill does a lot of that. But I have to say this also is a bill that is not just about Asian American hate crimes. It is wider. It is about all hate crimes. But it does have specific language recognizing that Asian Americans have been targeted especially during the COVID pandemic. And, of course, it’s bipartisan.
Critics, however, on both sides. Critics on the left say this bill doesn’t go far enough, that it just scratched the surface, that data is not enough. They want more on underlying causes.