Miami/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 20, 2024
DeSantis' Chinese Property Ban Faces Federal Court Challenge Amid Discrimination Claims in FloridaSource: Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In what's shaping up to be a contentious legal showdown, attorneys have taken up arms against a Florida statute that clamps down on property purchases by Chinese nationals. The law, inked by Governor Ron DeSantis last year, has been a flashpoint for accusations of discrimination and federal overreach. A federal appeals court was called to consider its fate this past Friday.

Ashley Gorski, the attorney slicing through the state's defense, argued that the law unlawfully targets Chinese individuals, echoing repressive laws from the distant past. "Florida is unlawfully restricting housing for Chinese people,” she drove her point home before the judges according to AP News. The law in question bars citizens from China and a handful of other countries deemed threatening, from snapping up real estate near military bases and other critical areas.

Sitting on the defense, the state's attorney Nathan Forrester asserted that the ban dovetails with national security interests vocalized by the Biden administration. He countered that it's not race but safety at the crux of the matter.

However, the law's critics are quick to point out a scanty link between property ownership and national security breaches. In a statement obtained by Local 10 News, the American Civil Liberties Union's Gorski aptly noted, "There is no evidence in the record of any nexus between Chinese home ownership and harm to national security." Her sentiments were an echo from protest grounds where Shanti Elise Prasad aired grievances over elected officials peddling fear and racism.

The complainants in the case titled Shen vs. Simpson, are not just abstract statutes but flesh and blood; they are four Chinese citizens with lives rooted in Florida, and alongside them stands a real estate firm, both sides taking hits from the law's restrictions.