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Ban on Chinese land ownership in Florida blocked by federal court

By Randall Yip, Executive Editor

A federal court has blocked Florida from enforcing the ban on Chinese land ownership signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the failed GOP presidential candidate.

Two Floridians, Yifan Shen and Zhiming Xu sued. They argued it would prevent them from taking possession of a home that had already signed a contract to buy.

“Florida’s new alien land law harkens back to outdated and racist alien land laws from 100 years ago,” Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund legal director Bethany Li said to AsAmNews. “Whether a century ago or now, these laws are aimed at excluding Asians from American society and result in widespread discrimination and prejudice. Opposing anti-Asian hate means opposing violence against Asians in all forms.”

The ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is temporary. The court, however, ruled that the plaintiff showed they had substantial evidence to ultimately win their case.

AALDEF told AsAmNews the case applies only to Florida and does not impact similar laws passed or that are being considered in other states.

“It’s pretty widespread,” said Cindy Tsai, interim president at the Committee of 100 to AsAmNews. “According to our research, there are more than 50% of the states have some kind of litigation either in review or have passed laws that have restrictions on whether it’s foreign entity or individuals from purchasing land.”

A group of 100 Chinese American leaders, the Committee of 100 has tracked these laws nationwide on its website.

The laws passed or that are being considered vary by state.

“So there are some that are restricting specific areas that are there close to like military bases, or areas that they perceive as potentially high risk for national security. There are some that are restricting specifically just agricultural land. And then there are some that are wide ranging, which it includes, you know, personal homes, and will any sort of real estate property,” said Tsai.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund joined the ACLU, DeHeng Law and Quinn Emanuel Law in contesting SB 265 on behalf of the plaintiffs, Shen and Xu.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta handed down Thursday ruling.

Happy Lunar New Year! Time is running out to support our Lunar New Year Fundraising Drive through this link. The campaign ends Sunday. AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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