The Justice Department measure follows the passage of anti-hate crime legislation in the U.S. Congress.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to extend funding to states and municipalities to help track and investigate hate crimes and ordered prosecutors to intensify criminal and civil investigations into cases. of hatred.
In a note to Justice Department employees, Garland said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta will assign someone to coordinate and serve as a “center” of hate crimes by working with prosecutors, law enforcement and community groups to ensure that there are adequate resources to investigate and trace hate crimes.
“Hate crimes and other incidents related to bias instill fear in entire communities and undermine the principles on which our democracy is based,” Garland said in his note.
“All people in this country should be able to live without fear of being attacked or harassed because of their background, their appearance, who they love or how they worship.”
Garland’s note comes at a time when Asian Americans have faced an increase in racist attacks and encounters since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when then-President Donald Trump began blaming China for the virus. .
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden signed into law the Hate Crimes Act COVID-19, which requires the Department of Justice to appoint an officer to expedite the review of hate crimes reported to the police.
The new law aimed to combat the rise of hate crimes during the pandemic passed overwhelmingly in the United States Congress.
In March, Garland announced it would launch a quick 30-day review to explore ways the department could improve efforts to prosecute hate crimes and collect better data.
Thursday’s note implements some requirements of the law, as well as some prior review recommendations.
Garland’s note on Thursday also designates an official who will be tasked with speeding up the review of hate crimes and calls on U.S. law firms to assign local criminal and civil prosecutors to act as civil rights coordinators.
“Hate acts don’t always reach the level of federal hate crimes, but these hate incidents still have a destructive effect on our communities. Federal civil statutes sometimes offer remedies when federal hate crimes statutes hate they don’t, ”Garland wrote.
Most Americans of ethnic and racial groups believe that discrimination has worsened in the past year against Asian Americans, who became the target of attacks after being unfairly blamed for the coronavirus pandemic.
A survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggested that 60 percent of Americans said discrimination against Asian Americans has increased compared to a year ago.
According to the May 26 poll, nearly half of Americans believed that Asian Americans find themselves “very” or “strong” with discrimination in the U.S.
The survey also indicated that about 6 out of ten Americans said racism in the U.S. in general is a “very” or “extremely” serious problem. And most Asian Americans said they felt insecure in public because of their race.
The AP-NORC survey of 1,842 adults was conducted from April 29 to May 3 and had a margin of error for all respondents is roughly 3.2 percentage points.