CAPAC Members and Attorney General Garland Discuss China Initiative, COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, and Language Access

Oct 29, 2021 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. — Today, Attorney General Merrick Garland met with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) to discuss issues of critical importance to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community including language access in the judicial system, anti-Asian hate crimes, and rising anti-Asian xenophobia, including a need to revise or end the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) own China Initiative, which has resulted in numerous false accusations against scientists and researchers based on their ethnicity. CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement following the meeting:

“I am so grateful to Attorney General Garland for taking the time to meet with members of CAPAC today as we continue to grapple with the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, rising anti-Asian xenophobia, and white supremacist extremism. Already, Attorney General Garland has demonstrated his sincere commitment to protecting our communities, taking action on his very first day in office to marshal resources to help address hate crimes. But as hate incidents continue to plague Asian American communities, we used today’s conversation to emphasize the need to move ahead with implementing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act so that local law enforcement are better equipped to track and respond to these crimes, something Attorney General Garland has committed to. We also reiterated our call to end the China Initiative which has contributed to the atmosphere of xenophobia that assumes one’s ethnicity makes them a suspect.

“And as the DOJ continues its work to combat racism and prejudice, I want to also praise Attorney General Garland for the incredible steps he has taken already to increase language access throughout the Department of Justice in order to make the courts more accessible to all Americans, regardless of their English language proficiency, like the creation of a new Language Access Coordinator across the entire department. I am pleased to have such a dedicated Attorney General as well as other powerful voices for civil rights at the DOJ like Vanita Gupta working so hard to make this a safe and inclusive country for all and I look forward to our continued work together.”