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Chinese nationals sue Florida over law barring them from owning homes


“Asian immigrants are part of the fabric of Florida. For hundreds of years, they have contributed to our community and have made this state their home,” said Daniel Tilley, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which represents the plaintiffs.

“The discriminatory policies advanced by the DeSantis administration will not go unchecked,” he said.

DeSantis, who is expected to announce a bid for president soon, has said the law would protect Florida from China’s Communist Party, a common goal of Republicans.

The ACLU, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and a Florida law firm, all representing the plaintiffs, say the law would cast “an undue burden of suspicion” on anyone trying to buy a house as long as their “name” sounds distant Asian.”

“This misconceived rationale unfairly equates Chinese with the actions of their government, and there is no evidence of harm to national security resulting from property ownership by Chinese in Florida,” the ACLU said in a press release.

State governments have introduced more than a dozen similar pieces of legislation in recent months. Florida’s would be the first to be passed into law.

A spokesman for Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, one of the defendants, said the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is reviewing the lawsuit.

Gary Fineout contributed to this story.

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