Florida Law Blocks Chinese Citizens from Homeownership

When Buying a Home Is Treated as a National Security Threat

The Impact of Florida’s New Law on Home Buyers

Not long ago, Lisa Li, a 28-year-old Chinese national, was excitedly preparing to close on her new home in Miami. For someone who spent years living in dorms and subpar apartments, this was a significant milestone. However, her joy soon turned into despair when a new Florida law came into play.

Unexpected Twist

Just as she was about to finalize the purchase, the title company raised concerns about a small United States Coast Guard outpost near South Beach, a few miles away. The company warned that Li’s purchase could violate a new Florida law that prohibits many Chinese citizens from buying property in the state, especially near military installations, airports or refineries.

As a result, the deal fell through, leaving Li in a state of shock and disappointment. “The whole experience was very hurtful and tiring,” says Li, who is still renting in Miami. “I just feel that, as someone who has lived and worked in this country for many years, and as a legal taxpayer, I should have the ability to buy a home that I can live in.”

States Enacting Similar Laws

However, Florida is not alone in this. More than three dozen states have enacted or are considering similar laws, citing national security concerns and the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party.

Chinese Residents Voice Concerns

Many Chinese residents in Florida have expressed their frustration and fear over this law. Some have even contemplated leaving the state. The law is currently being challenged in federal court.

Impact on Florida’s Real Estate Industry

The new law has also affected the state’s real estate industry. Developers often rely on Chinese investors to finance projects in Florida, but the law appears to have barred such financing, leading to a pushback from a prominent real estate lobbying group.

Civil rights groups and residents have challenged the Florida law in federal court on grounds that it violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Fair Housing Act, and that it undercuts the federal government’s powers on foreign affairs. Additionally, some scholars have compared this law to the alien land laws from the early 20th century, which effectively prohibited Asian immigrants from buying farmland and, in some cases, homes in many states.

Looking Ahead

As the legal challenge to the Florida law proceeds, Chinese residents, like Lisa Li, remain in a state of uncertainty. Faced with the potential discrimination and legal complications, some are even considering leaving the state. “I think I may just have to leave,” Li says. “Who knows what policies they might come up with next?”