Chinese citizens in Florida sue state over law banning them from buying homes

Chinese citizens in Florida sue state over law banning them from buying homes
via Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Bryan Ke
May 23, 2023
Four Chinese citizens are suing Florida over its upcoming law that will prohibit them from purchasing property in the state.
According to the plaintiffs, Senate Bill 264 is discriminatory against Chinese citizens who live in Florida and seek to buy land there. They are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and other Florida law firms.
Asian immigrants are part of Florida’s fabric. For hundreds of years, they have contributed to our communities and have made this state their home,” ACLU Legal Director Daniel Tilley said. “The discriminatory policies pushed by the DeSantis administration will not go unchecked.”
The lawsuit, filed on Monday, states that the new law, which is set to take effect on July 1 after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it this month, is unconstitutional and a violation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
In a press release, the ACLU stated that SB 264 will “also cast an undue burden of suspicion on anyone seeking to buy property whose name sounds remotely Asian, Russian, Iranian, Cuban, Venezuelan or Syrian” since the law also restricts citizens from Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria to purchase land within 10 miles of military bases” in Florida.
The ACLU noted that DeSantis’ reasoning behind the new law, which the governor stated is “necessary to protect Florida from the Chinese Communist Party and its activities,” is a “misguided rationale.”
The ACLU further explained that this “unfairly equates Chinese people with the actions of their government, and there is no evidence of national security harm resulting from real estate ownership by Chinese people in Florida.”
The new bill, which reached DeSantis’ desk in early May and was signed just days afterward, received a 95-17 House vote and a 31-8 Senate vote.
Those who already own a home in Florida will need to register their properties with the state starting January 2024. Failure to do so will result in a fine of $1,000 per day.

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