Big News Network: US court blocks Florida law banning Chinese from buying property
By Robert Bessser
TALLAHASSEE, Florida: Florida was blocked from enforcing a ban on Chinese citizens owning homes or land in the state against two Chinese citizens by a U.S. appeals court.
The two individuals were in the process of buying property when the law came into force.
On Thursday, a panel of the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the two Chinese nationals were likely to prevail on claims that Florida's ban violates a federal law governing real estate purchases by foreigners.
In August, a Florida federal judge refused to block the law, prompting an appeal by the plaintiffs. The 11th Circuit blocked enforcement of the law against the two plaintiffs pending the outcome of the case.
Lawmakers in several Republican states, including Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama, are also considering restricting Chinese citizens from owning property.
Last year, China's foreign ministry said that such laws "violate the rules of market economy and international trade rules."
Bethany Li, legal director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said that Florida's ban specifically targets Chinese citizens, therefore, violating the U.S. Constitution.
In a statement, Li said, "Today's ruling should serve as a warning to other states who are considering passing similarly racist bills, steeped in a history when Asians were ineligible for citizenship and were told they did not belong."
Florida's law prohibits individuals who are "domiciled" in China and are not U.S. citizens or green card holders from purchasing buildings or land in the state.
Most citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea are also banned from owning property near military installations and infrastructure, such as power plants and airports.