Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz introduced a change to a Democrat-authored “Asian hate crime” bill making its way through Congress, expanding on the bill’s prohibitions against anti-Asian racism by stripping federal funding from colleges and universities that discriminate against Asians in their admissions process.
Cruz was one of six Republicans who initially opposed the bill, which is “aimed at addressing hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the Houston Chronicle, voting against ending an early filibuster.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), introduced the bill in their respective houses of Congress back in March, suggesting that federal reporting of anti-Asian hate crimes needs to be “streamlined” and that the government has a responsibility to “mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic.”
The bill was aimed at “racially discriminatory” descriptions of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, like “China virus,” which the pair claim encourage hatred against Asian Americans and motivate physical attacks, like the high-profile assaults that took place in San Francisco, California, and New York City earlier this year.
Although it is difficult to quantify what motivated the string of physical attacks against Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants that took place earlier in 2021, at least one of the assaults appears to have been a burglary. At least one other anti-Asian incident, apparently motivated by racism, did not appear to be connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cruz said, following the vote, that he believes all hate crimes “should be vigorously prosecuted,” including those perpetrated against Asian Americans, but that he believed the bill was nothing more than a Democrat “messaging tactic.”
The bill, Cruz said, “is not designed to do anything to prevent or punish actual crimes. It is instead a Democratic messaging vehicle designed to push the demonstrably false idea that it is somehow racist to acknowledge that Covid-19 originated in Wuhan, China and that the Chinese Communist Party actively lied and suppressed information about the outbreak, allowing it to become a global pandemic.”
He then suggested that a bill that truly addressed anti-Asian discrimination would tackle anti-Asian bias in college admissions, like the kind the federal government found at Yale following an investigation last year, per The Associated Press. That “two-year investigation concluded that Yale ‘rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit,’ the Justice Department said. The investigation stemmed from a 2016 complaint against Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth.”
“When Democrats decide to take hate and racism seriously that means they will address this and not ignore it because it doesn’t fit neatly into their messaging tactics,” Cruz told the Texas Tribune.
On Thursday, Cruz and Louisana Sen. John Kelly (R) introduced an amendment to the Democrats’ bill that does just that, stripping institutions of “higher education” of federal funding if they persist in handicapping Asian applicants.
The amendment says that “no institution of higher education…may receive any federal funding if the institution has a policy in place or engages in a practice that discriminates against Asian Americans in recruitment, applicant review, or admissions.”
Democrats have not indicated whether they will support adding on the amendment.
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