WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States Commission on Civil Rights releases the report, The Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States. Based on extensive research, expert and public testimony, the report assesses the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. from 2019 through 2021, and the federal role in preventing and enforcing federal hate crime laws.
This report examines three main areas: 1) national trends and data regarding the rise of hate incidents and hate crimes against members of Asian communities; 2) local and state law enforcement’s prevention and reporting practices regarding hate crimes; and 3) federal efforts and policies that encourage greater participation in reporting hate crime incidents, as well as prosecution and enforcement efforts to prevent hate crimes.
“The report indicates that language barriers are impeding the reporting of incidents and that many incidents that do not meet the legal criteria for hate crimes, such as racial slurs or being spat on, still evoke fear but go unaccounted for in official statistics, said Commission Chair, Rochelle Mercedes Garza. “Ultimately, the absence of adequate performance metrics poses a significant challenge in assessing the federal government’s effectiveness in combating the surge in hate crimes against the Asian community. While these barriers continue to exist, the Commission has outlined holistic strategy to combat anti-Asian hate incidents, ranging from data collection improvements and legal enforcement to community support and education initiatives.”
“I am proud to have worked on the United States of America’s official, congressionally authorized, report on what’s been happening to our community since the dubbing COVID19 as the ‘China Virus’ inflicting people with the ‘Kung Flu’. Words matter, as this report shows,” said Commissioner Glenn Magpantay.
Agreed upon by a bi-partisan majority of Commissioners, the report contains the following Commission specific findings and recommendations – a first since 2019:
Data collection & reporting:
• A major impediment to understanding the severity and magnitude of hate crimes against persons of Asian descent is the lack of comprehensive data.
• The transition to the NIBRS data collection has been slow for some agencies: for 2021, the number of participating agencies within the FBI hate crime database was 11,834, compared to the 15,138 participating agencies for 2020 data, and many of the agencies that have not submitted 2021 data are the largest jurisdictions.
Training & Partnerships:
• Prosecutors and law enforcement should vigorously investigate and prosecute hate crimes and harassment against Asian Americans.
• First responders should be provided with training aimed at teaching a clear understanding of what constitutes a hate crime in their jurisdiction.
• Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and victim services need to identify critical deficiencies in Limited English Proficient (LEP) programs for individuals who need language assistance. As part of the examination, the Commission held a public briefing on March 24, 2023, where Commissioners and Commission staff heard from subject matter experts such as government officials, academics, policy experts, law enforcement professionals, advocates, and impacted persons. The Commission also accepted written materials from the public for consideration in the final report.