WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden signed off on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Thursday afternoon.
“We are committed to stop the hatred and the bias,” the president said.
Biden said it’s time to deal with hate crimes throughout the country.
“It hides in plain sight and too often it is met with silence,” the president said.
The legislation he signed into law instructs the United States Department of Justice to assign someone to review hate crimes related to COVID-19 and expands efforts to improve hate crime reporting at the local and state levels.
“But of all the good the law can do, we have to change our hearts. We have to change the hearts of the American people,” the president said.
Lawmakers pushed for this bill after an increase of racially motivated violent crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
“This violence, it did not come from nowhere. And none of it is new,” Vice President Kamala Harris said.
Harris said there were more than 6,000 hate incidents from March 2020 to March 2021.
“The work to address injustice, wherever it exists, remains the work ahead,” Harris said.
The bill received broad bipartisan support as many Republicans, like Rep. Larry Buschon (R-Ind.), agreed something needed to be done.
“Anytime we can make an advancement down the ball field on improving the way we address those situations, I think that’s a positive thing,” Buschon said.