Chinese Nationals Forbidden to Buy Property in Florida Under DeSantis Law

A 2023 state law in Florida has made it illegal for Chinese nationals to purchase homes. The effects have left an entire demographic reeling.

DeSantis Bans Chinese Residents from Buying Florida Land

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In a move that has sent shock waves through a community, Florida governor Ron DeSantis banned Chinese citizens living in the Sunshine State from purchasing property unless they are in possession of a green card.

Bill Claims to Protect Florida from “the Chinese Communist Party”

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Previously, H-1B visa holders who are in the country legally through employment sponsorships were allowed to own property in the state, but DeSantis says the ban is an example of “taking action to stand against the United Staets’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party.”

Multiple Countries Affected By New Law

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Chinese citizens are not the only ones affected by SB 264. While they are the only ones who received an outright property ownership ban, citizens of six other countries are now unable to purchase Floridian property under certain conditions. 

Cuba and North Korea Among Other Affected Countries

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Florida residents with citizenship in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela can buy homes, but only if they are outside of a 10 mile radius of a “military installation or critical infrastructure facility,” reads SB 264.

Law Sparks Protests and Outrage

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Many of those impacted by the law have expressed outrage and disappointment about it, citing concerns about racism and discrimination. At present, there are several legal teams undergoing battles against SB 264.

Fear in the Chinese Community

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Some Chinese families who are green card holders have even said they’re refraining from purchasing property due to fear of discrimination. Others say they plan to leave the state of Florida altogether.

Political Posturing Against China

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Throughout the past few years, American politicians right of the aisle have pointed to China as a source of concern. Many have claimed that China uses social media apps to keep tabs on Americans.

National Security Concerns

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Other politicians have expressed concerns about land in the United States already owned by China. Nearly 350,000 acres in the States are currently owned by China, a fact that some Republicans believe to be “dangerous.”

Mortgage Lenders Weigh Risks

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Meanwhile, mortgage companies are grappling with the complicated new law. The decision of whether to continue working with Chinese residents in Florida comes down to fear of legal issues for many lenders.

Racism in Practice?

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To the would-be homeowners who are being turned away, however, it just feels like discrimination. Several Chinese citizens living in Florida have said that they’re being treated like spies, but they are in fact just regular people trying to live normal lives. 

Attorney Takes Law to Court

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A legal fight is ongoing in an attempt to overturn the new law, with Ashley Gorski, a Florida attorney, paving the way. Gorski is working alongside a group of Chinese citizens living in Florida who are protesting SB 264.

“Florida is Unlawfully Restricting Housing for Chinese People”

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“Florida is unlawfully restricting housing for Chinese people,” Gorski said to the appeals court. “[SB 264] is singling out people from particular countries in a way that is an anathema to the equal protection guarantees that now exist.”

Florida Fights Back

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Florida’s attorney, Nathan Forrester, argued that the law was about national security and not race.

“This Is What the Law Was Designed to Do”

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“The concern is about the Chinese government, and this is what this law is designed to do. The concern is the manipulation of the Chinese government,” Forrester said.

What is “Critical Infrastructure?”

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The verbiage in SB 264 that bars Chinese people (and those from the other six aforementioned countries) from purchasing property near “critical infrastructure” is of particular concern among opposition. 

Uncertainties About SB 264’s Parameters

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DeSantis failed to define “critical infrastructure” in the bill, so the restriction is unclear. This has led some mortgage companies and real estate agents to avoid dealing with the issue altogether by refusing to work with anyone holding a Chinese passport.

Judge Shuts Down Appeal

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Unfortunately for Gorski and her clients, the federal judge presiding over the appeal dismissed the case and upheld the law. 

No Evidence of Racism, Says Trump-Appointed Judge

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Judge Allen Winsor said that there was no evidence that the law was born of race-based discrimination. Winsor was appointed by former president Donald Trump.

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The post Chinese Nationals Forbidden to Buy Property in Florida Under DeSantis Law first appeared on EcoHugo.

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