A group of Chinese citizens living and working in Florida are suing the state over a discriminatory land law.
SB 264 was recently signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. According to Reuters, the law prohibits Chinese people who are not U.S. citizens or green card holders from owning property in Florida. Additionally, the law would also prohibit people born in countries considered to be “foreign adversaries” from owning property near military bases.
In a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union, the plaintiffs announced that they had filed a lawsuit to combat the law. They will be represented by the ACLU? the ACLU of Florida, DeHeng Law Offices PC, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), in coordination with the Chinese American Legal Defense Alliance (CALDA).
The lawsuit claims that SB 264 violates the Constitution and the Fair Housing Act. It also argues that the law would unjustly burden any minorities looking to buy property who might be perceived as being from one of the countries listed in the law.
“All Asian Americans will feel the stigma and the chilling effect created by this Florida law, just like the discriminatory laws did to our ancestors more than a hundred years ago,” said Clay Zhu, an attorney with DeHeng Law Offices PC and co-founder of CALDA in the press release. “We shall not go back.”
A spokesperson for Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, who is listed as one of the defendants, told POLITICO the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is reviewing the lawsuit.