A bill that would have banned citizens from China and other countries to purchase farmland, timberland and oil and gas rights has failed in the Texas legislature, reports the Texas Tribune.
A house committee refused to even hear the bill which means, barring a miracle, the bill appears dead.
“We are glad that SB147 has died in the Texas legislature,” Jeremy Wu of APA Justice told AsAmNews via email. “Alien land laws were discriminatory and unconstitutional more than 100 years ago. They still are today. Much work is still ahead of us.”
Texas’ Asian American community mobilized nationwide opposition to the bill which originally sought to ban the sale of any property to Chinese, Korean, and Russian citizens and anyone from countries that posed a security threat to the United States.
The bill did pass the Texas Senate, but only after several amendments that watered it down.
“We’ve got to quit dividing our society,” state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), said during a debate in the Senate last month on the bill, reports the Houston Chronicle.
State Rep Gene Wu (D-Houston) was among the bill’s most vocal critics.
“National security is a serious issue, but if we are concerned about the actions of foreign governments, then legislation should only affect foreign governments and their agents,” Wu said. “Labeling every person from a nation as an agent of that government is not only unjust, but is also counterintuitive given the number of asylum-seekers and refugees that our nation welcomes from those same counties.”
SB147 had been compared to the Alien Land Law of 1924 which barred Asians from owning land and the Chinese Exclusion Act which banned Chinese from immigrating to the United States.
Several states including Louisiana and Alabama are now considering similar laws. Florida Governor Ron Desantis has already signed Florida’s version of the law, but he is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union which has filed a lawsuit to stop the law as unconstitutional.
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