Texas Legislature Considers Restrictions on Chinese Real Estate Purchases
Eleven U.S. states, including Texas, are considering legislation to restrict Chinese citizens from buying land, homes and other real estate within their borders. Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently announced his support for Senate Bill 147, a bill that would prohibit citizens and entities from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from purchasing land in the state. The bill would also prevent government and corporate entities of these countries from acquiring or owning land in Texas.
The proposed law has come under scrutiny from some legislators and members of the public who argue that it unfairly targets certain individuals and could complicate diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China. The proposed bill makes no distinction between those who are living and working in Texas with a legal status and dual citizens. Furthermore, there are no exemptions for visa-holders or people on the path to citizenship.
In addition to S.B. 147, other bills related to the same issue have been introduced in the Senate and House. Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) has proposed S.B. 552, which would ban citizens and companies from the four specified countries from purchasing or leasing agricultural land in Texas. Representative Cody Harris (R-Palestine) has introduced H.B. 1075 to prevent any foreign governments or companies controlled by a foreign government from owning agricultural land.
Kolkhorst has said that the bill is an extension of S.B. 2116 from the 2021 Texas Legislature, which prohibits those four countries from entering into contracts or agreements in connection to critical infrastructure in Texas. She has also pointed out that there are 22 other states that have some form of restriction on foreign national land ownership.
However, the bill has been met with criticism from civil rights groups such as the ACLU of Texas and Asian American studies professors. David Donatti, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, has called S.B. 147 “an unconstitutional attempt to erode the rights of immigrants in the state.” Similarly, Russell Jeung, a professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University, has argued that these bills are “based on stereotypes and outsized fears.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has also expressed its opposition to the proposed legislation, saying that it violates the principles of market economy and international trade rules. The ministry has highlighted that Chinese companies have made important contributions to local employment and economic development in the U.S.
0. “US Violating Rules Over Proposed Property Purchase Ban: China” Benzinga, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.benzinga.com/government/23/02/30850676/china-accuses-us-of-violating-rules-of-market-economy-over-proposed-property-purchase-ban
1. “Texas, lawmakers seek to ban Chinese citizens from buying US land” USA TODAY, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/02/09/lawmakers-ban-chinese-citizens-buy-american-land/11163052002
2. “New Texas Senate Bill is a misguided attempt to protect state security” North Texas Daily, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.ntdaily.com/new-texas-senate-bill-is-a-misguided-attempt-to-protect-state-security/
3. “Opinion: Property ownership bill threatens immigrant groups” Austin American-Statesman, 5 Feb. 2023, https://www.statesman.com/story/opinion/columns/guest/2023/02/05/opinion-property-ownership-bill-threatens-immigrant-groups/69862872007/
4. “SEN. KOLKHORST ADDRESSES SB 147 CONCERNS” KWHI, 8 Feb. 2023, https://kwhi.com/2023/02/08/sen-kolkhorst-addresses-sb-147-concerns/
5. “Texas Bill Could Bar Certain Immigrants From Buying Land” Reason, 6 Feb. 2023, https://reason.com/2023/02/06/this-texas-bill-could-bar-certain-immigrants-from-buying-property-in-the-state
6. “U.S. restrictions on Chinese property ownership violate international trade rules: Chinese FM” ecns, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.ecns.cn/news/cns-wire/2023-02-10/detail-ihckmzxh9378885.shtml
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