By Editor-June 30th, 2023.
The U.S. Department of Justice has said that a new Florida law that comes into force tomorrow, signed that restricts Chinese citizens and citizens of other selected nations from land ownership in Florida is unconstitutional. The law has been signed by Governor Ron de Santis.
DeSantis claims that the goal is to protect his state from one of the biggest security threats to the US.
The Justice Department filed a statement of interest in federal court in Tallahassee arguing that the law violates the Fair Housing Act. The filing also alleges the law also runs counter to the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment.
The law affects people from what Florida calls “foreign countries of concern” — China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria.
The law, in part, targets Chinese people who are not U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.
It would prevent them from purchasing property in Florida, with some exceptions. For example, they each would be allowed to purchase one residential property up to two acres if the property is not within five miles of a military base and they have non-tourist visas.
Desantis, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, said he is standing up to China and that President Joe Biden is too weak on foreign policy.
“Our food security is also our national security,” DeSantis said at the bill signing event last month. “So we don’t want the CCP in charge of any of the food production.”
It is not thought that the new law will have any affect on the numerous Chinese restaurants and buffets in Florida.
Chinese citizens and Asian-Americans living in Florida warned legislators last spring that they would face discrimination and harassment if the bill passed. The Senate voted 31-8 to pass the bill and the House backed the bill by a 95-17 vote.
The law is scheduled to take effect tomorrow, on July 1st 2023. It is not known whether there has been a rash of last-minute land purchases today, or how many existing landholdings in Florida could be affected by the law.
The effect could be intended more to prevent business investment by Chinese or other entitities. For example it would prevent the purchase of farms or factories.
Sources: CBS News, Politico, TIME.