President Joe Biden’s move came a week after two Asian-American Democratic senators publicly criticized his White House for its poor representation of Asian Americans in leadership positions. Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) And Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) initially vowed to oppose the Biden candidates until the White House came up with a more meaningful plan to solve Asian-American problems, but later said theirs Disability would be unnecessary after getting assurances from the White House.
In a statement, Duckworth applauded Biden for “realizing the pain in our community and taking concrete steps to protect AAPI people from violence, eradicate anti-Asian bias, while supporting victims of hate crimes.”
The new DOJ initiative would also aim to improve coverage of hate crimes. According to a survey by SurveyMonkey / AAPI Data released Tuesday, 10 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific islanders had experienced hate crimes or incidents in 2021, compared to a national average of 6 percent of Americans.
The Senate will take action next month based on a bill by Hirono and Rep. Grace Meng (DN.Y.) to appoint a DOJ official to expedite the review of hate crimes related to Covid and state and local hate crimes to step up reporting. Biden’s announcement on Tuesday reiterated his call for Congress to pass this bill despite the fact that it faces an ascent to law without Senate support from Republicans.
Duckworth had dropped her threat to oppose Biden candidates after securing a commitment to appoint a senior White House official who focused on Asian-American issues. However, Tuesday’s announcement did not provide details on this official’s portfolio.