by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democrats have hailed a new hate crimes bill as an important step toward supporting the Asian American community amid a recent spike in attacks against Asian individuals. But their decision to kill an amendment to the bill that would have protected Asian American students from discrimination in the college applications process shows that Democrats aren’t that worried about discrimination after all.
The amendment, proposed by Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, would have banned federal funding from going to colleges and universities that discriminate against Asian American applicants during the recruitment and admissions processes. All Republicans voted for the amendment. Democrats shot it down, 49-48.
The effort to protect Asian American students from abject bias should have received bipartisan support, especially since a recent federal investigation revealed that many public universities do, in fact, illegally use Asian Americans’ race as “the determinative factor” when considering their applications. These schools intentionally toss Asian Americans’ applications and opt for other minorities instead, even if those applicants are otherwise less qualified.
Not a single Democrat backed the amendment that would have helped end this practice. In fact, Sen. Mazie Hirono, the Hawaii Democrat who introduced the new hate crimes bill, went so far as to claim the amendment was a “transparent and cynical attack on long-standing admission policies that serve to increase diversity.” In other words, Hirono fully supports discriminating against Asian Americans, as long as it’s done in the name of “diversity.”
This disappointing vote comes after the Biden administration dropped a Justice Department lawsuit against Yale University over its discriminatory affirmative-action-based admissions policies. Just eight days before Biden withdrew the lawsuit, he had signed an executive order vowing “to prevent discrimination, bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against [Asian American] individuals.”