White House announces new measures to counter anti-Asian violence

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a set of measures responding to rising anti-Asian violence, including deploying $49.5 million from COVID-19 relief funds for U.S. community programs that help victims.

White House officials said in a statement that the Department of Justice is also focusing on a rising number of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.

“We can’t be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “These attacks are wrong, un-American, and must stop.”

The measures come after a shooting in Atlanta earlier this month left eight people dead, six of them Asian-American women.

The shooting stoked fears among those in the Asian-American Pacific Islander community, which has reported a spike in hate crimes since March 2020 when then-President Donald Trump began referring to the novel coronavirus as the “China virus.”

Biden’s new steps include $49.5 million of pandemic relief funds for “community based, culturally specific services and programs for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault” as well as a new task force dedicated to countering xenophobia against Asians in healthcare.

The Justice Department is also planning new efforts to enforce hate crime laws and report data on racial crimes, the statement said.

 

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)

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