FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: James Arnold or Mary Collins Atkinson (202) 224-2353
April 13, 2021 

Cotton, Grassley Call for Hearing on Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans

Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today called for the committee to convene a hearing on hate crimes against Asian Americans.

“We are concerned to see that such an important issue has not already received Committee or Subcommittee attention. Instead, S. 937, the ‘COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act,’ has been moved to the Senate floor with little commentary, factfinding, or Committee consideration. We believe the Senate should have the benefit of hearing from the Department of Justice before blindly acting on this issue,” the senators wrote in a letter to committee chairman Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and subcommittee chairman Cory Booker (D-New Jersey).

Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered a 30-day review of how hate crimes are tracked and prosecuted amid an uptick in crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Senators called on the committee Democrats to convene a hearing as soon as the Justice Department’s review is completed to examine its findings.

Text of the letter can be found here and below.

 

Dear Chairman Durbin and Chairman Booker:

We write today to request a hearing of the full Committee or the Crime Subcommittee related to the rise in violent crime across the country, in particular the surge in violent crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Every one of us is horrified to see incidents in which our fellow Americans are attacked because of their race or ethnicity. We understand that Attorney General Garland is conducting a 30-day review of violence against AAPI Americans, which we hope will improve the federal government’s capacity to track and identify hate crimes, review civil enforcement authorities, and assess whether additional resources are needed to support law enforcement’s response to this violence. This review is scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks.

Congress’s attention to the findings of this review, including whether there is a need for additional resources or to adjust relevant legal authorities, will be necessary. We request a hearing on this issue at the earliest possible opportunity after that review is completed.

We are concerned to see that such an important issue has not already received Committee or Subcommittee attention. Instead, S. 937, the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act,” has been moved to the Senate floor with little commentary, factfinding, or Committee consideration. We believe the Senate should have the benefit of hearing from the Department of Justice before blindly acting on this issue. As we know that each of you believes very strongly in the importance of Committee process, we hope you will support this request.

Sincerely,

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