The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would help combat the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a bipartisan denunciation of such violence during the coronavirus pandemic and a modest step toward legislating in a chamber where most of President Joe Biden’s agenda has stalled.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, the legislation’s lead sponsor, said the measure is incredibly important to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, “who have often felt very invisible in our country, always seen as foreign, always seen as the other.” She said the message of the legislation is as important as its content and substance.
Hirono, the first Asian American woman in the Senate, said the attacks are “a predictable and foreseeable consequence” of racist and inflammatory language that has been used against Asians during the pandemic, including slurs used by former President Donald Trump.
But unlike many of the larger, more controversial policy issues Democrats hope to tackle in their new majority, efforts to combat the rising violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have almost universal backing.
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