The legislation, which Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last month, also restricts — though it does not ban — land purchases by some citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela.
Republican legislators in other states have proposed bills to ban Chinese citizens from buying or owning property, but Florida’s was the first to be signed into law.
Critics argue that the law will worsen existing discrimination and that it could cause property owners in Florida to become hesitant to sell to members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community out of fear of violating it.
Manjusha Kulkarni, the executive director of AAPI Equity Alliance and a co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, compared the measure to the “alien land laws” passed in California and other states in the 20th century, which restricted Asian migrants’ right to own land. The law, she said, signals to Chinese Americans “that they don’t belong.”
“There’s no question that these bans on Chinese land ownership would have a devastating impact on Chinese immigrants in the United States, essentially preventing them from buying homes and settling their families” she said. “Measures like this appear to be solutions looking for a problem.”