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With reported anti-Asian hate crimes rising, Reps. Michelle Steel and Katie Porter call for speedier investigations

Orange County Reps. Michelle Steel and Katie Porter joined forces to condemn acts of hate committed against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

Steel, who introduced a bipartisan congressional resolution co-led by Porter, decried the “rising trends of violence” against the AAPI community.

“Enough is enough,” said Steel, R-Seal Beach. “We must come alongside our neighbors and friends to stand strong in the face of evil. Only together can we end the discrimination and hatred experienced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Southern California and across the country.”

Steel represents the largest Vietnamese enclave outside of Vietnam in California’s 45th congressional district, which includes Westminster, Garden Grove and Fountain Valley.

Nationally, hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders saw the steepest increase from 2020 to 2021, according to FBI data, rising from 279 to 746, a more than 160% increase.

California, home to over 6 million Asian Americans, or a third of the U.S. Asian population, wasn’t immune. According to California Department of Justice crime statistics, the state saw a 177.5% increase in reported hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian bias, from 89 in 2020 to 247 in 2021.

And locally in Orange County, where more than 700,000 Asians reside, 76 of 263 hate incidents reported in 2020 targeted people of Asian descent. In previous years, reported anti-Asian hate incidents in the county were in the single digits.

“In May, we celebrate the extraordinary contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders — but we must also recognize the ongoing challenges these communities face,” Porter, D-Irvine, said. “Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and they have the right to live free from hate and discrimination.”

The resolution calls on federal law enforcement to work with state and local officials to “expeditiously and vigorously investigate” all reports of anti-Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander hate crimes and incidents, and also to improve the reporting of these hate crimes.

It also names the six women of Asian descent who were murdered in the Atlanta-area spa shooting on March 16, 2021 — Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim and Yong Ae Yue — as well as Dr. John Cheng, an Orange County physician who charged the gunman in the Laguna Woods’ church shooting last year, ultimately losing his life.

This is not the first time the pair sponsored a resolution condemning anti-Asian hate crimes. In 2021, Steel and Porter, together with Reps. Young Kim and Lou Correa, introduced similar legislation.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a related resolution in the U.S. Senate.

The House’s resolution is endorsed by a number of Korean community groups, including the Los Angeles-based Faith and Community Empowerment (FACE).

“Living in constant vigilance for my own safety, but also of family members and even for community gatherings, has become a new reality for myself and other fellow Asian Americans as we continue to be barraged by the ongoing anti-Asian violence,” said Hyepin Im, the FACE president and CEO.

Source: Orange County Register

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