12 Republican AGs defend Florida law restricting Chinese land ownership against allegations of racism

Twelve Republican state attorneys general have stepped in to defend a Florida law banning some Chinese land ownership near U.S. military installations and major infrastructure in the name of national security, arguing in federal court against allegations painting the legislation as racist or unconstitutional.  Led by Idaho Attorney General Raúl R. Labrador, AGs from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina and Utah signed onto an amicus brief filed July 7 condemning what they categorized as the plaintiff’s unfair treatment in labeling Florida’s law as racist.  “Florida is one of at least 24 states that restricts foreign ownership of land. And numerous countries also limit foreign ownership of land,” the attorney generals wrote. “Florida and these other states and countries are not driven by ‘racial animus’ as the Plaintiffs charge. They are instead fulfilling their most basic state functions by exercising sovereignty over their soil.”  The legislation, known as SB 264, went into effect on July 1 and applies to “foreign principles” who are “domiciled” in China, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, Russia and North Korea, restricting them from owning or acquiring agricultural land or real property within 10 miles of any “military installation” or “critical infrastructure facility” in Florida. The Republicans argue in the amicus brief that it does not apply to anyone from those countries based on national origin alone.  DOJ ARGUES DESANTIS-BACKED LAW BANNING CHINESE LAND OWNERSHIP NEAR FLORIDA MILITARY BASES ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’ The law, signed by GOP presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has an exception for individuals with a valid non-tourist visa or who have been granted asylum to purchase one residential real property if the property is less than two acres in size and not within five miles of a military installation. It also prohibits the “purchase or acquisition of real property by the People’s Republic of China,” including by Chinese political and corporate entities. FLORIDA BANS CHINESE CITIZENS FROM BUYING LAND: ‘WE DON’T WANT THE CCP IN THE SUNSHINE STATE,’ DESANTIS SAYS In a response filed Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing four Chinese citizens who live in Florida and a Florida brokerage firm suing the state, argues that the “irreparable harms of SB 264 are already being felt by Plaintiffs and other Asians in Florida, who today face discrimination when seeking to buy homes.” It claims, “these harms are also roiling the real estate market in Florida, where some lenders are now refusing to do business with any Chinese national.” On May 22, plaintiffs Yifan Shen, Zhiming Xu, Xinxi Wang, Yongxin Liu, and Multi-Choice Realty, LLC filed a complaint seeking a preliminary injunction.  CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Last month, the Justice Department filed a “statement of interest” in the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee arguing the Florida law violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (FHA). So far, the DOJ has not formally intervened in the case.  U.S. District Judge Allen C. Winsor scheduled a July 18 hearing on the ACLU’s request to block the law.
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