Washington [US], May 20 (ANI): US President Joe Biden has announced that he will sign the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on Thursday, paving the way for the legislation to stop hate crimes against Asian Americans that have occurred since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden announced his decision on a Twitter post, saying that "hate has no place" in the country.
"Hate has no place in America - and I look forward to making that clear this afternoon by signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law," he tweeted.
The legislation was introduced by Democratic-Representative Grace Meng of New York and Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.
The legislation is aimed at countering a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The US House of Representatives passed the legislation on Tuesday in a 364-62 vote.
Prior to that, the bill was passed by the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 94-1 last month. It would create a new position at the Justice Department to expedite review of potential Covid-19-related hate crimes and incidents reported at the federal, state or local level, reported CNN.
The passage of the bill comes less than two months after a gunman killed eight people in three Asian-owned spas in greater Atlanta; six of the victims were women of Asian descent. And on Wednesday, the House plans to pass a separate resolution condemning the March 16 massacre in Georgia, The Hill reported.
"After a year of the Asian American community crying out for help, today Congress is taking historic action to pass long-overdue hate crimes legislation and send the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to President Biden's desk," said Democratic Representative Judy Chu.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the bill is a "proof" that "the Senate can work to solve important issues," and would tell bigots "we're going after you".
Some Republicans were initially skeptical about the legislation known as the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act but Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and others teamed up with Hirono to strike an agreement broadening its support.
The bill's passage "sends a clear and unmistakable message of solidarity" to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, Hirono said. (ANI)