On Friday, State Rep. Tony Tinderholt introduced a bill to ban undocumented immigrants, along with citizens from China and North Korea, from being admitted to public colleges and universities in Texas.
The bill also seeks to ban undocumented students from Iran and Russia.
However, the proposal is still alarming to protesters as it echoes two Texas Senate bills that would ban citizens of the same countries from buying property in the state.
Bill 147 seeks to prevent people with ties to the four countries from purchasing Texas property or real estate, while Bill 552 will hinder companies from buying agricultural land if passed.
The bill has since garnered heavy backlash in the state Senate, which prompted the state officials to make revisions to exempt those who are already U.S. citizens or have dual citizenship.
The bills’ author, State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, claimed that they are necessary for national security to curb foreign influence in major industries in Texas.
However, hundreds of protesters have denounced the bills as discriminatory, with individuals highlighting fears that the bill will fuel more anti-Asian hate crimes.
Many of those who have resided in Texas for years on employment visas also argued that the bills violate property rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
Last year, a Texas Republican candidate came under fire after she called for a ban on Chinese students from universities in the state, noting that Chinese Communist Party members “should not have access to our schools.”