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Photo: Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 75 Asian and LGBTQ organizations issued a statement Wednesday rejecting the anti-Asian hate crime bill that recently soared through the Senate.

Why it matters: The groups say the bill will bolster law enforcement and further harm marginalized people. Their opposition reflects a fracture among Asian Americans as the community looks to address a yearlong spike in anti-Asian hate.

  • The bill, backed by prominent AAPI Congress members, including Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), aims to improve hate crime tracking and train police to better identify anti-Asian hate.
  • Lawmakers have denied criticisms that the bill reinforces policing. The House is expected to take up the bill in mid-May and will likely send the legislation to President Biden, who has said he would sign it.

What they're saying: In Wednesday's statement, published on writer Jenn Fang's blog, "Reappropriate," activists called the bill a contradiction of "Asian solidarity with Black, Brown, undocumented, trans, low-income, sex worker, and other marginalized communities whose liberation is bound together."

  • The bill does not create "systemic change" and only increases "crime statistics collection," the organizations write.
  • Relying on crime statistics does not actually prevent violence, they argue, pointing to the 2009 Matthew Shepard Act.
    • The Matthew Shepard Act expanded federal hate crime categories to include sexual orientation and gender identity, but the statement notes that the U.S. continues to see high rates of deadly anti-trans violence.
  • Bolstering law enforcement "ignores that police violence is also anti-Asian violence, which has disproportionately targeted Black and Brown Asians," they write.
    • The statement cites the deaths of Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto, Asian Americans who were recently killed by police during mental health crises.

The organizations called on members of Congress to oppose the legislation and instead shift resources from law enforcement to communities.

  • Investing in non-carceral alternatives and removing police presence from neighborhoods are among their demands.

The big picture: In 16 of the country's largest cities and counties, reports of anti-Asian hate crimes have surged 164% since this time last year, according to a recent study from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State University San Bernardino.

Go deeper

DOJ investigating city of Phoenix and Phoenix police department

Phoenix Police confront demonstrators in 2017. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced in a press conference Thursday it is opening a "pattern or practice" investigation into the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.

Driving the news: The Justice Department's probe comes after the Biden administration reversed a Trump policy of not investigating police departments. It looks into several possible violations exhibited by the city's police department:

2 hours ago - Health

Government website for free COVID tests launches early

COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The website where Americans can request free, at-home rapid COVID-19 tests from the government launched Tuesday and is now accepting orders.

Driving the news: The website went live in its beta phase and is operating at a limited capacity a day before its official launch. Every home in the U.S. is eligible for up to four COVID tests, according to the website.

AT&T, Verizon extend 5G delay over airline panic

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

AT&T and Verizon said Tuesday they would delay lighting up its 5G signals near a limited number of airports after renewed opposition from the aviation industry over concerns about signal interference.

Why it matters: The CEOs of leading airlines warned of catastrophic disruption to flights if AT&T and Verizon deployed 5G as planned this week.