Approximately 300 protesters marched through Houston’s Chinatown on Saturday in opposition to a proposed law that would prohibit Chinese citizens from owning property in Texas.
If passed, Bill 147, filed by Republican State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst in November 2022, will effectively prevent people with ties to four countries — China, Russia, North Korea and Iran — from purchasing Texas property or real estate.
Kolkhorst, who claims it is necessary for national security, has said it would not impact legal residents or green cardholders.
Critics of the bill, however, point out that it has not addressed the issue of dual nationals and it has not clarified legal protections.
Groups representing immigrants who feel that they will be affected by the bill have been organizing demonstrations to protest its passing.
SB147 is blatantly racist and xenophobic. Houston Asiatown is out in full force to oppose this bill. pic.twitter.com/e7WZUT88eQ
— Rise AAPI (@RiseAAPI) February 11, 2023
Asian Americans Leadership Council, one of the leading groups campaigning against the bill, organized the Saturday protest that saw hundreds marching through Chinatown while chanting “Stop Chinese hate” and “Texas is our home.”
@SylvesterTurner speaks at the Houston rally “it’s just People’s issue, we need to treat everyone with #dignity and #respect regardless where they are come from”. Marching with @JacksonLeeTX18 @GeneforTexas @LingLuo_AALC #Stop SB147 #Stop SB552 #Equal4all Stop Discrimination pic.twitter.com/JUCY7lZ3OP
— AALC (@AALCusa) February 11, 2023
Protesters made noise by pounding on drums and cymbals while those wearing a Chinese dragon costume joined the march.
“For a long time, our community has been used as a scapegoat for the rest of the world,” Rep. Gene Wu (D, TX-137), who participated in the march, said. “So during COVID-19 people blamed Asian Americans… We are not responsible for anything that goes on in the rest of the world.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX- 18) also participated in the protest and spoke on the stage.
“No to SB 147, because the Statue of Liberty has not fallen, and the American flag is still standing,” she said. “Stop the Asian hate. Stand for the American flag.”
On Jan. 29, over 250 protesters flocked to John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in downtown Dallas to condemn the bill as discriminatory.
The protest, hosted by DFW Chinese Alliance, included testimonies from community members who shared their concerns about the bills.
Hailong Jin, DFW Chinese Alliance’s board director, compared the bill to previous anti-Chinese legislation in the U.S., including the Chinese Exclusion Act and California’s “Alien Land Law.”
The groups also protested against Bill 552, which will hinder companies with links to the four countries from buying agricultural land.