These US States May Ban Chinese, Other Country’s Citizens From Buying Land
The US state of Texas is considering banning Chinese nationals from buying real estate for national security reasons — and as tensions with Beijing grow, other states could follow suit. The Texas proposal would also ban Russians, Iranians and North Koreans from owning real estate. But the main target seems to be Chinese citizens.
The draft proposal was put forward in November 2022 by Lois Kolkhorst, a state senator from the Republican Party in Texas, the southern United States.
“One of the top concerns for many Texans is national security and the growing ownership of Texas land by a number of rival foreign entities,” Kolkhorst said.
Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican and staunch supporter of stricter immigration policies, said he would sign and enact the proposal if it passed the state senate.
Foreign ownership of farmland and other real estate, especially by Chinese citizens or businesses, is becoming a hot issue in the United States, and not just in Texas. Florida, Arkansas, South Dakota and eight other states are considering laws restricting foreign ownership.
Texas, though, can be a bellwether. With 28.8 million citizens, Texas is the second most populous state. Among its residents, 1.4 million identify their ethnicity as Asian, and 223,500 say they are of Chinese ancestry, US census data shows.
Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, has 156,000 residents who identify as Asian.
They include US citizens with Asian heritage but also Chinese permanent residents – or green card holders – who are not naturalized citizens.
“All these people are paying taxes here,” said Ling Luo, a first-generation Chinese immigrant who is director of the Asian American Leadership Council. “(They) are making a huge contribution to universities, to education.”
Although the proposal also targets other nationalities, Luo said the Chinese are the most numerous.
Others say that people of Chinese descent are simply targets of discrimination.
Gene Wu, a member of the Texas House of Representatives, said: “Our country is going through waves of searching for groups of immigrants… to turn them into evil.
He noted that “China is Texas’ second-largest trading partner. And China is Texas’ third-largest buyer of goods.”
A proposal like the one on the table, he said, “could jeopardize all those contracts.”
Mr. Wu said that increased diplomatic tensions after the US shot down a Chinese spy balloon over the weekend could spur efforts to limit foreign property ownership.
“There are some people who are using the rise in tension as an excuse to attack community members,” added Wu, “there is a difference between those with Chinese heritage and the Chinese government. “
Kolkhorst, a proponent of the Texas law, said the rationale behind the bill was the purchase of 130,000 acres (52,600 hectares) by a retired Chinese military officer with ties to the Communist Party.
The land near Laughlin Air Force Base east of Del Rio, a city near the border with Mexico.
Sun Guangxin, the real estate mogul who is a buyer, said he wanted to build a solar and wind farm, but Texas in 2021 blocked the project.
The state legislature, citing national security concerns, passed legislation banning any projects involving the Chinese government or three other countries from connecting to the grid.
Wu said the law “makes sense,” but the new proposal affects many classes of people and the ends don’t justify the means.
According to the National Association of Realtors, in the 12 months to March 2022, Chinese investment accounted for 6% of foreign home purchases in the United States.
‘Do not write on your face’
“Our family is not from China, we escaped from China,” Wu said. “My family went through the Cultural Revolution and all that,” he added, referring to the tumultuous 1966-1976 period when communist leader Mao Zedong sought to purge all competitor.
Senator Kolkhorst said her proposed bans would not affect those with US citizenship or permanent resident status nor anyone “fleeing tyranny” in her homeland. Surname.
For Luo, however, such claims are unconvincing — even for US citizens like her.
“Who knows if you’re a citizen or you’re not a citizen? It’s not written on your face. Your Chinese face is what makes people come and abuse us, hate us, beat them up. me,” she said.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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