Queens congresswoman commends U.S. attorney general for taking action to combat hate crimes

File photo courtesy of Rep. Grace Meng’s office

Congresswoman Grace Meng commended U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for putting forward a plan to better combat hate incidents. 

The steps are outlined by the attorney general in a memorandum released on Thursday, May 27, and are the result of Meng’s COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and a 30-day review of how the Department of Justice can better use its resources to counter hate crimes and hate incidents. President Biden signed Meng’s bill into law last week.

“The ongoing hate and violence against Asian Americans continues to terrorize the Asian American community and we are now seeing a disturbing and despicable rise in anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community,” said Meng, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies which oversees funding for the Department of Justice. “Let me be clear: There is no place for hate and violence anywhere in our society. It must not be tolerated, and we must eradicate it in all its forms.”

The attorney general’s memorandum contains provisions from Meng’s bill including the following:

  • The designation of a person to facilitate the review of hate crimes. The attorney general is assigning the Chief of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division to fill this role.
  • Providing resources and coordination to combat hate crimes and incidents; a deputy associate attorney general will lead efforts to create and coordinate the department’s anti-hate crime and incident resources, including implementing the act’s provisions to issue guidance on online reporting, hate crimes reporting, data collection, creating state-run hate crime hotlines and coordinating with the secretary of Health and Human Services and others to raise awareness of hate crimes.
  • Establishing a new full-time language access coordinator within the department in recognition that language access is a key barrier to the reporting of hate crimes and incidents. The deputy attorney general will oversee the establishment of this role.

The memorandum also prioritizes reinvigoration of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service which Meng has called for, and which she separately discussed with Garland during a recent House hearing.