LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: People demonstrate against anti-Asian violence and racism on March 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. March 27 is the #StopAsianHate National Day of Action against anti-Asian violence. On March 16th, eight people were killed at three Atlanta-area spas, six of whom were Asian women, in an attack that sent fear through the Asian community amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

This article has been written by Oishika Banerji of Amity Law School, Kolkata. This article discusses the legislation signed by President Biden of the United States of America that focuses on the rise in violence against Asian Americans alongside addressing hate crimes across the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


An increase in violence against communities of colour, notably Asian American and Black communities in the United States, has added to the devastating toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of hate crimes in the United States increased significantly in 2020, reaching the highest level in 12 years. These attacks were primarily anti-Asian and anti-Black.  Hate crimes affect more people than the majority of other types of crimes since the victims are not only the crime’s primary target but also people who are similar to them.

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What are hate crimes

Hate crimes are offenses committed against members of a group because of their affiliation with that group. This concept has been extensively used in research to develop theories that focus on hate crimes as violence against marginalised groups or to empirically examine crimes against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community across various racial or ethnic groups, as well as religious groups. Prior to COVID-19, research tended not to concentrate on hate crimes committed against Chinese people, a community that has frequently been called a “model minority” in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Hate crimes can be divided into two groups:

  1. Crimes against humans, usually known as violent crimes: This category contains the offences of simple assault, murder, rape, intimidation, and aggravated assault.
  2. Crimes against property, commonly known as property crimes: This category contains the crimes of arson, burglary, vandalism, property destruction, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft.

Hate crimes vs. hate incidents

  1. A hate crime is defined as a criminal act that is wholly or partially motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with someone who possesses one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics, according to Section 422.55 of California Penal Code. A hate crime can be perpetrated against an individual, a group, or even a piece of property. Section 13023 of the Penal Code mandates that California LEAs notify the Department of Justice (DOJ) of any hate crimes that take place inside their borders.
  2. A hate incident is an act or behavior motivated by hatred but is yet constitutionally protected under the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Instances of hatred acts include:
  • Using profanity.
  • Rebukes.
  • Dissemination of hateful materials in public spaces.
  • Posting offensive content on your own property.
  • Disseminating hate speech that doesn’t cause property damage.
  1. Criminal conduct known as a hate crime is one that is motivated by the victim’s actual or imagined protected traits. A hate event, on the other hand, is noncriminal conduct driven by prejudice.

Need for public awareness of hate crimes and hate incidents matters

To enable effective action and responses to hate crimes and incidents, awareness of them is a crucial first step. For the USA to take action to solve this issue and lessen its negative effects, the nation must have a thorough grasp of its nature, its scale, its causes, and its effects on the communities who are affected. The analysis of the immediate and underlying causes of hate crimes and the development of practical and strategic solutions to promote harmony rather than hatred requires awareness on the part of the federal, state, local, tribal, and territory governments as well as non-governmental organizations.

  1. Ensures that victims and communities are noticed and that both their individual and collective trauma experiences are acknowledged. 
  2. Reduces the stigma associated with reporting such crimes and incidents, raises public awareness of what constitutes a hate crime and a hate incident, builds public trust in law enforcement, and ensures that communities are aware of how to report such crimes and incidents as well as where to find resources for dealing with acts of hatred.
  3. Enables law enforcement and decision-makers to allocate sufficient resources to prevent, respond to, and mitigate these crimes by increasing the knowledge of the significance of tracking, identifying, and reporting hate crimes to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
  4. Enables law enforcement and other government officials to focus their efforts on the most pressing criminal and civil enforcement issues and to carry out investigations, litigation, and prosecutions that are informed by local culture and linguistics.
  5. By identifying these crimes and occurrences as bias-motivated and making it clear that they will be addressed, the public may help prevent future hate crimes and incidents.
  6. Through an understanding of the problem’s scope, the specific communities it affects, and the kinds of resources that can best meet those communities’ needs, law enforcement, public officials, community organizations, and other leaders are better able to respond to hate crimes and incidents in a way that is culturally and linguistically sensitive and effective.
  7. Aids in the deployment of efficient and focused social services and resources for public health, such as those for mental health, community support, and other resource requirements, as well as for the treatment and care of victims of hate crimes and other situations.
  8. Identifies prejudices, myths, or stereotypes that could grow into hate crimes and events in order to create strategies to stop its growth.
  9. Encourages social, scientific, and academic viewpoints on the origins and patterns of hate crimes in order to develop effective solutions for both prevention and intervention.
  10. Teaches the proper words to avoid stigmatization and spread of hate.
  11. Educates people about past instances of prejudice, discrimination, hate crimes, and hate incidents and how they still continue to affect people and communities, in order to stop this kind of things from happening again.

Lack of public awareness concerning hate crimes in the United States of America

  1. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic was definitely accompanied by an increase in hate crimes and occurrences, there are data gaps that make it difficult to fully comprehend their magnitude and effects. The capacity of government actors and communities to react correctly is hampered by these limitations. Additionally, they make it more difficult for public health officials and medical professionals to address the negative effects that hate crimes and other incidents have on people’s physical and mental health.
  2. The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) keeps track of homicides that may have been motivated by hatred. The NVDRS information for incidents that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be available. It will be a priority to examine fatal hate-motivated violent occurrences against Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) groups once the NVDRS data from 2020 is available and prepared for analysis later in 2022.
  3. Law enforcement’s failure to record hate crimes or their underreporting to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program are long-standing problems. The number of police departments participating in the FBI’s annual hate crimes report has decreased for the third year in a row, with thousands of departments either not reporting any data or reporting no hate crimes to the FBI. Zero hate crimes were recorded by more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies in 2020, including more than 40 agencies in cities with populations of more than 100,000.
  4. In addition to making it more difficult for law enforcement to address and prevent hate crimes, this lack of accurate data can lead some people and communities who have been the victims of unlawful acts of hatred to believe that law enforcement organizations are not prepared, able, or willing to respond to these crimes. As a result, there is less confidence between the public and government, fewer victims report crimes and a decline in public safety. It is possible for victims and witnesses to underreport hate crimes and occurrences for a variety of reasons.
  5. Before the pandemic, 42% of violent hate crimes were not reported to police, according to data from the National Crime Victim Survey on victim opinions of hate crimes between 2015 and 2019. The fact that the incident was handled in a different manner, such as privately or through a non-law enforcement authority, was cited by victims as the primary reason (approximately 38%) for not reporting it to the police.
  6. Victims who thought police couldn’t or wouldn’t aid were involved in around a quarter (23%) of violent hate crimes that weren’t reported to the police. The victim thought the offense was not significant enough to report in 16% of violent hate crimes, according to statistics. Only 5% were reported to the police because the victim was afraid of retaliation.
  7. Additionally, victims and other members of the targeted groups may not report crimes because they have a low opinion of law enforcement, according to stakeholders and law enforcement partners. The absence of reporting of hate crimes or the slow response of law enforcement, according to stakeholders, might make community members believe that their trauma and experiences related to hate crimes and other hate occurrences go unnoticed or unrecognized by the authorities.
  8. The inability to effectively communicate with or work in partnership with the populations most affected and attacked by hate can exacerbate this mistrust. Lack of cultural awareness and accessibility, language hurdles, failure to use reliable messengers to encourage discourse, and ignorance of the kinds or forms of resources that the impacted populations may need most are some of the obstacles to effective communication with these communities. Additionally, it’s possible that when law enforcement and other officials try to reach out to the community, they don’t fully grasp which organizations and people should be included in their outreach, which can lead to the loss of important viewpoints.
  9. Lack of knowledge about what constitutes a hate crime, ignorance of reporting procedures, or the inability to disclose hate occurrences that do not meet the criteria for a crime are some further obstacles to victim reporting. The full range of options that may be accessible to address the various types of hate crimes and occurrences, including access to healthcare and mental health treatment, victim compensation in some circumstances, civil enforcement, or other resources, may not be fully disclosed to victims.
  10. Cultural barriers include emotions of shame, cultural norms that could discourage reporting, or an incorrect notion that instances without physical violence need not be recorded creating further difficulties. For instance, impacted populations might not be aware that bullying involves not just physical aggression but also verbal harassment, spreading rumors, or social rejection and isolation, even though bullying, if reported, may be handled through bullying prevention measures.
  11. The absence of language translation and interpretation services is another cultural barrier for many victims of hate crimes and hate events, which can make it difficult for them to report incidents or use relevant options for help.

Hate crimes in the United States of America

Acts of hatred that comply with a federal or state hate crime statute’s statutory description are referred to as “hate crimes.” The FBI defines a “hate crime” as “a committed criminal act that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) towards a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity” for the purposes of recording hate crime data. The FBI’s statistics on hate crimes include information from territorial, tribal, state, and local law enforcement organizations. This covers all hate crime offenses that fall under the federal definition as well as state definitions.

Hate crimes and occurrences hurt our society in a special and distinctive way. Because the victims are not only the crime’s immediate target but also other people who resemble them, hate crimes have “a broader effect than most other types of crimes.” Refusing to acknowledge hate crimes and incidents can make victims and communities feel isolated and in danger; it can alienate them from authorities, law enforcement, and the general public; it can discourage victims from coming forward and reporting hate crimes, and it can deprive victims and communities of the resources and treatment they may require to address the personal and societal trauma and negative effects of hate crimes.

The number of reported hate crimes in the United States increased in 2020 to the highest level in 12 years, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2020 FBI Hate Crime Statistics. Based on reports from 15,138 law enforcement agencies, the 2020 FBI hate crime data identified 8,263 hate crimes with 11,129 offenses. According to FBI statistics, over 60% of all reported hate crimes in 2020 were directed against individuals based on their race, ethnicity, or heritage. Such racial hate crimes surged by nearly 30% in number in 2020. An overwhelming majority of racial hate crimes were motivated by bigotry towards Black people, with 55% of all racial hate crimes falling into this category. In 2020, hate crimes against Black individuals increased by over 49%. The sharp rise in recorded anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 outbreak was another unsettling pattern. Anti-Asian hate crime reports climbed drastically by over 70%, according to FBI hate crime statistics.

This rise was also noted by the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force (HETF) of the Biden Administration, which created a subcommittee to address xenophobia related to the epidemic.  According to the HETF, “during the course of the past year, we have all shared in sadness and outrage at the rise in hate crimes observed in our communities.”  The HETF said that “COVID-19 added to the severe burdens already suffered by communities at high risk,” describing increased targeting of Asians/Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Black communities.

Federal hate crime laws

Federal hate crime statutes are enforced by the Department of Justice and forbid specific actions motivated by the protected traits listed in each statute. These federal laws on hate crimes encompass a variety of hate crimes, including physical assaults and criminal threats motivated by prejudice against someone based on their race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status. These laws include:

  1. Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act, 18 U.S.C § 249, as amended by the Emmett Till Antilynching Act.
  2. Criminal Interference with Right to Fair Housing, 42 U.S.C. § 3631.
  3. The Church Arson Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 247.
  4. Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights, 18 U.S.C. §245.
  5. Conspiracy Against Rights, 18 U.S.C. 241.

State hate crime laws

States and territories have a wide range of hate crime laws. Hate crime laws are implemented by state and local law enforcement in state and local courts in at least 48 states, the US territories, and the District of Columbia. Various jurisdictions define hate crimes as including a variety of prejudiced motivations and offer various punishments or enhancements for such offenses.

Federal and state civil rights laws

Some activities motivated by bias or hatred do not fall under the legal categories outlined in civil or criminal statutes. For instance, the First Amendment safeguards the peaceful expression of any opinion or philosophy, no matter how radical or offensive. For government agencies, health and human service professionals, and community organizations to be able to provide resources to address negative impacts on communities and to ensure that such conduct does not escalate into violent or unlawful conduct, hate incidents that are not illegal under criminal or civil statutes require different responses, such as facilitation, mediation, outreach, and training.

  1. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq..
  2. The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.
  3. Anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1324B.
  4. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. § 6101 et seq.
  5. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Titles II (public accommodations) (42 U.S.C. § 2000a et seq.), Title IV (education) (42 U.S.C. § 2000c et seq.), Title VI (programs or activities that receive federal funds or federal financial assistance) (42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.), and Title VII (employment) (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.).
  6. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 USC § 12101 et seq.
  7. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.
  8. Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 42 U.S.C. § 18116
  9. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff et seq.
  10. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C § 2000bb
  11. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq.

The background of COVID-19 hate crimes

  1. COVID-19 is thought to have first appeared in Wuhan, China in late December of 2019 and then spread quickly throughout the world in the early months of 2020. Asian Americans reported an increase in racially motivated hate crimes involving physical violence and harassment as COVID-19 spread across the country. Health crises brought on by pandemics have historically been linked to the stigmatization and “othering” of persons of Asian heritage. From the time of their arrival in America in the late 1700s till the present, Asian Americans have been the target of verbal and physical abuse driven by personal racism and xenophobia. Through discriminatory speech and exclusive policies, the state has frequently implicitly supported, encouraged, and sustained this violence at the institutional level. 

Insecurity, xenophobia, and fear of foreigners have all been exacerbated by COVID-19, which may be why there have been more anti-Asian hate crimes throughout the pandemic. We look at how these crimes have served to “other” Asian Americans and perpetuate inequality because they are embedded in historically pervasive and intersecting individual-level and institutional-level racism and xenophobia.

  1. Events involving violent hate crimes rose by 125% in 2020 when compared to 2019. This increase is the highest increase in violent hate crimes documented since 2016 and amounts to 40 violent hate crime incidents more than were reported in 2019. When compared to data from the prior year, 2017 saw the second-largest spike in violent anti-Asian hate crimes in a single year, with a 79% increase in complaints.
  2. Aggravated assault, intimidation, murder, rape, robbery, and simple assault are all considered violent crimes for reporting purposes. Simple assault and intimidation were the most frequently perpetrated crimes in anti-Asian hate crimes over the course of five years.
  3. Since 2018, there have been more property crimes motivated by prejudice against Asians. In comparison to data for 2019, the most property crimes were reported in 2020, showing a 55% increase. The most frequent type of property crime against Asians was property damage.
  4. Throughout the pandemic, Asian Americans have seen a sharp increase in violent crime. From March 2020 to March 2021, 6,603 hate events were reported by the group Stop AAPI Hate; however, the organization’s leaders claim that the actual figure is substantially higher because many hate crimes go undetected. Democrats have suggested that the rise in anti-Asian sentiment in the nation is related to former president Donald Trump’s frequent use of racial slurs, such as “kung flu” to refer to the coronavirus.
  5. The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which included the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act of 2021 (Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act), was signed into law by President Joe Biden on May 20, 2021. In response to the sharp rise in hate crimes and events against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed this legislation. 
  6. The Act ordered the DOJ and Health and Human Services (HHS), among other things, to develop guidelines “aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” “in conjunction with the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations.”

COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (2021-2022)

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 364-62; all 62 Republicans who voted against the measure. The signing happens two days after the voting. The law was nearly unanimously approved by the Senate last month; the only senator to vote against it was Missouri Republican Josh Hawley.

By increasing public outreach and ensuring that reporting resources are available online in multiple languages, the legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York, and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, sought to make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels. “Passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in the Senate sends a strong and resolute statement that our entire nation is dedicated to eliminating AAPI hate,” Senator Duckworth said after a year of incomprehensible suffering and growing hate crimes against the Asian American community. “I’m delighted to have assisted Senator Hirono in introducing this crucial piece of legislation to support victims of this cruel, misguided attack and boost our enforcement of current hate crime statutes. I will keep pushing to pass this legislation because it is past time to end the cycle of prejudice against Asian Americans.”

Additionally, it orders the Department of Justice to appoint a focal point to facilitate the review of hate crimes connected to COVID-19 and authorizes funding to state and local governments to carry out crime-reduction initiatives to prevent and address hate crimes. 

Structure of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (2021-2022)

The Act has five primary provisions, according to a synopsis produced by the Congressional Research Service.

  1. The expedited review of hate crimes and reports of hate crimes must be facilitated by a designated officer or employee of the DOJ, according to this statute.
  2. State, local, and tribal law enforcement organizations must get instructions from the DOJ on how to set up reporting procedures for online hate crimes, gather information broken down by protected characteristics (such race or national origin), and enhance awareness-raising initiatives.
  3. The measure creates funds for states to establish state-run hotlines to report hate crimes. 
  4. Additionally, it permits funds for local and state governments to carry out crime reduction initiatives, law enforcement programmes, and the National Incident-Based Reporting System in order to prevent, address, and respond to hate crimes.
  5. Finally, the bill permits a judge to impose community service or educational requirements as a condition of supervised release on someone who has been found guilty of a hate crime charge and is on probation.

Purpose of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (2021-2022)

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which President Biden swiftly signed into law, addresses the wider infrastructure changes required in the data gathering, reporting, and connection to support services for hate crimes. It contains vital provisions to increase language access and enable linguistically and culturally appropriate public education campaigns to inform populations targeted by hate about reporting and assistance options. The law also includes provisions to increase the use of alternative sentencing and restorative justice approaches.

Provisions of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (2021-2022)

Designed with five elaborate provisions, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (2021-2022) stands as a progressive legislation during a time when the world continues to cope with the brutal pandemic and its consequences. It is necessary to note that Section 1 of the Act introduces the name by which the legislation will be recognised after it comes into effect. The provisions have been discussed in detail hereunder. 

Findings under Section 2 of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

The provision mentions that Congress had made the following observations in regards to the hate crime legislation: 

  1. There has been a sharp rise in hate crimes and acts of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since the COVID-19 virus circulated in 2020.
  2. Approximately 3,800 instances of anti-Asian discrimination and COVID-19-related occurrences were documented between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021, throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a recent report.
  3. Over 90% of incidences of discrimination throughout this time have been attributed to race, and the United States opposes and denounces any anti-Asian and Pacific Islander bigotry in all its manifestations.
  4. Approximately 36% of these occurrences happened in a place of business, and more than 2,000,000 Asian-American-owned companies have enriched the diversity of American society.
  5. The COVID-19 pandemic may present even greater challenges for the more than 1,900,000 older Asian-American and Pacific Islander people, particularly for those who are recent immigrants or have limited English proficiency. These challenges may include prejudice, economic insecurity, and language isolation.
  6. A gunman killed the following 8 persons in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, 7 of whom were women and 6 of whom were women of Asian origin, amid this worrying rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents:
  • Paul Andre Michels.
  • Soon Chung Park.
  • Hyun Jung Grant.
  • Xiaojie Tan.
  • Daoyou Feng.
  • Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez.
  • Suncha Kim.
  • Yong Ae Yue.
  1. The American people will never forget the victims of these shootings and will always show their support for everyone who has been affected by this senseless tragedy or other acts of hatred that have targeted Asian and Pacific Islander people.

Review of hate crimes under Section 3 of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act 

As has been discussed previously in terms of statistics, any legislation made with regard to the control of hate crimes needs to have a provision based on which review of hate crimes will be taking place. Reviewing helps in avoiding mismanagement by executors of the legislation and decreasing the efficiency of the same. 

The Attorney General shall, not later than 7 days following the date of enactment of this Act, designate an officer or employee of the Department of Justice whose duty it shall be to expedite the review of hate crimes (as defined in Section 249 of title 18, United States Code) and reports of any such crime to federal, state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies during the applicable period.

‘Applicable period’ has been defined under this provision to lay down the period for which the scope of the review will be continuing. The term “applicable period” as used in this section refers to the time frame starting on the date the officer or employee is designated under subsection (a) and ending on the date that is one year after the end of the emergency period mentioned in subparagraph (B) of Section 1135(g)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5(g)(1)), with the exception that the Attorney General may extend the time frame as necessary.

Guidance under Section 4 of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act 

Section 4 of the Act deals with two kinds of guidance, namely, guidance for law enforcement agencies and guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Guidance for law enforcement agencies 

In accordance with this Act and other applicable laws, the Attorney General shall give instructions to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies on how to:

  1. Create an online reporting system for hate crimes or occurrences, and as decided by the Attorney General, ensure that this system is equally effective for people with disabilities as it is for those without disabilities.
  2. Gather information that is broken down by the protected characteristics listed in Section 249 of title 18 of the United States Code; and
  3. Increase the scope of public education efforts that are equally successful in reaching victims and increasing awareness of hate crimes among both people with and without disabilities.

Guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services must issue guidelines to raise public awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic in cooperation with the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations.

Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act under Section 5 of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act  

Section 5 of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act incorporates another Act by the name of the Heyer No Hate Act. The Office for Victims of Crime under the United States Government started running a program, recognized by the name of OVC FY 2022 Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act State-Run Hate Crime Reporting Hotlines. This program’s main objective is to give funding to state agencies:

  1. To create and maintain state-run hotlines for reporting hate crimes in order to encourage many more people to do so, and
  2. To make certain that victims and witnesses are in contact with local law enforcement and assistance programmes as required.
  3. The objective is to guarantee that hate crimes are reported and that victims can obtain the necessary services.

OVC expects to make up to two awards totaling a maximum of $1.125 million each for a 36-month performance period starting on March 1, 2023. Extensions for projects may be given for up to 60 months of performance. While the program is an initiative to implement the provisions of the aforementioned Act, certain provisions that design the Act, as have been mentioned under Section 5 of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, can be found hereunder along with discussion. Before delving into other provisions, it is necessary to mention that Section 5(a) of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act lays down that the section may be cited as the “Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act of 2021” or the “Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act”. 

Findings of Congress on the basis of which the Act was introduced (Section 5(b)) 

  1. A significant national issue is the frequency of violence known as hate crimes or crimes motivated by bias.
  2. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s records show that in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, the frequency of such violence increased.
  3. The Hate Crime Statistics Act (Public Law 101-275; 28 U.S.C. 534 note) was passed by Congress in 1990 in order to give information on the frequency of hate crimes to the Federal Government, law enforcement organizations, and the general public.
  4. Federal authorities may now comprehend hate crimes and, where necessary, investigate and punish them thanks to the Hate Crime Statistics Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Section E of Public Law 111-84; 123 Stat. 2835).
  5. In the public interest and in support of the Federal interest in eliminating bias-motivated violence mentioned in Section 249(b)(1)(C) of title 18, United States Code, a more thorough knowledge of the national problem posed by hate crime is needed.
  6. Unfinished data from Federal, State, and local jurisdictions collected as part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports programme, which is authorized by Section 534 of title 28 of the United States Code, makes it difficult to fully comprehend the national issue that hate crimes pose.
  7. The Uniform Crime Reports programme provides inaccurate and inadequate information about the prevalence of hate crime due to a number of variables. The caliber and scope of training provided to State and local law enforcement organizations on the recognition and reporting of suspected bias-motivated offenses is a significant contributing element.
  8. The issue of bias-motivated crimes is severe enough, pervasive enough, and nationwide in scope that States and local governments should get financial support from the federal government.
  9. Federal, State, and municipal authorities can cooperate as partners in the investigation and prosecution of certain violent offenses that are motivated by bias thanks to federal financial aid.

Notable definitions under Section 5(c) 

The list of notable definitions has been explained hereunder: 

  1. Hate crime: A “hate crime” is any act that falls under the definitions of Sections 245, 247, or 249 of title 18 of the United States Code or Section 901 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3631).
  2. Priority agency: The phrase “priority agency” refers to

(A) a law enforcement agency of a local government unit that protects a population estimated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be no less than 100,000; or

(B) A local government unit’s law enforcement agency that—

  • Provides service to a population estimated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be between 50,000 and 100,000; and
  • In each of the three most recent calendar years for which such data is available, no hate crimes through the Uniform Crime Reports programme.
  1. State: The definition of “State” under Section 901 of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968  (34 U.S.C. 10251) is applicable.
  2. Uniform crime reports: The term “Uniform Crime Reports” refers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation-managed reports that are permitted by Section 534 of title 28 of the United States Code and used to generate data on crimes across the country.

(A) In the management, operation, and administration of law enforcement; and

(B) To evaluate the type and severity of crime in the US.

  1. Unit of local government: The definition of “unit of local government” is found in Section 901 of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (34 U.S.C. 10251).

Reporting of hate crime under Section 5(d)

  1. Implementation grants: The Attorney General has the authority to award funding to States and local government entities to help them implement the National Incident-Based Reporting System. These monies may be used to train staff members to recognise and categorize hate crimes in the system. The Attorney General must give States and local government units priority when awarding grants under subparagraph (A) if they develop and carry out the initiatives and initiatives mentioned in subsection (f)(2) (A).
  2. Reporting: 
  • When a State or unit of local government receives a grant under paragraph (1) for the first time, three years later, that State or unit of local government is required to report hate crimes committed in that State or unit during that fiscal year to the Attorney General via the Uniform Crime Reporting system.
  • The Attorney General:
  1. Many grant a 120-day extension to a State or unit of local government that is making sincere efforts to comply with subsection I, and
  2. If a State or unit of local government’s compliance with that subparagraph would be in violation of its constitution or the constitution of the State in which the unit of local government is located, respectively, then clause (II) shall waive its requirements.
  • A State or unit of local government that receives a grant under paragraph (1) is required to repay the grant in full, plus any reasonable interest and penalty charges that are permitted by law or established by the Attorney General if the State or unit of local government fails to substantially comply with subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

Grants for State-run Hate Crime Hotlines under Section 5(e)

  1. Grants authorized: 
  • State-operated hotlines to report hate crimes must be funded by grants from the Attorney General.
  • A grant issued pursuant to subparagraph (A) may not be made for a duration exceeding five years.
  1. Hotline requirements:
  2. Regarding a hotline supported by a grant under paragraph (1), a State shall ensure that:

      The hotline sends callers to;

  • Law enforcement, if necessary; and
  • Neighborhood support services. 

Without the individual’s consent, no directly or indirectly exposed personally identifiable information that the individual sends to a State agency through the hotline is:

  • Any other state agency,
  • Any other state,
  • The federal government,
  • Any other person or entity, or
  • Any other entity. 
  1. The employees that run the hotline have received training to become knowledgeable about:
  • Any local, state, and federal hate crime statutes that may be in force; and
  • Local resources for law enforcement and any necessary local assistance services.
  1. Anyone can call the hotline
  • When applicable, people with limited English competence,
  • People with impairments. 
  1. Information collection by states and units of local  government:
  • The term “covered agency”;
  1. A State law enforcement agency; and
  2. Priority agency.
  • The Attorney General may award grants to qualified organizations to help covered agencies operating within their jurisdiction carry out law enforcement operations or crime reduction programmes to prevent, address, or otherwise respond to hate crimes, particularly when those operations or programmes involve reporting hate crimes through the Uniform Crime Report.
  • A State that receives a grant under subparagraph (A) may grant a subgrant to a unit of local government within the State for the purposes specified in that subparagraph, with the exception that a unit of local government may use the funding from a subgrant to support any of its law enforcement agencies.
  • Each law enforcement agency that receives funding from a grant or subgrant awarded to the State or unit of local government under paragraph (2) is required to submit a semiannual report to the State or unit of local government in order to collect the information necessary. The report must include a summary of the information that is required.
  • If a court order that a defendant is placed on a period of supervised release after being imprisoned under Section 3583 as part of a sentence for violating subsection (a), the court may specify that the defendant complete community service or educational programmes that are specifically related to the community that was harmed by the defendant’s offense.


As we come to the end of this article, it is evident to state that in order to curb the spread of hate crimes, public awareness campaigns should be carried out with a thorough effort and the use of numerous tools and techniques, combining the concepts of community education, cultural competency, and language access. Campaigns to raise awareness of the issue of racism and bias in the public should also mention this. Public awareness campaigns should also give priority to participation from the target audience, especially during the initial planning stages. This could involve participation in listening sessions, focus groups, community town halls, or other initiatives to comprehend the particular needs of communities and efficient techniques for various audiences. Additionally, fostering a better knowledge of how past responses to crises resulted in an increase in hate crimes and illegal discrimination can help stop future responses that are similar. In order to conduct investigations with an understanding of the various types of evidence relevant to demonstrating bias toward different communities, law enforcement personnel should receive training on how to comprehend the varied experiences and intersectionality of the identities of communities targeted by hate crimes and hate incidents.


  1. https://www.justice.gov/file/1507346/download.
  2. https://www.ohchr.org/en/news/2022/08/experts-committee-elimination-racial-discrimination-commend-united-states-america.

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