On Monday, a group of Chinese individuals residing in Florida filed a lawsuit against the state in an effort to nullify a recent law prohibiting nationals of China as well as several other nations from possessing real estate properties and land within the state's geographic borders.
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In the lawsuit filed in the federal court of Tallahassee, Florida, the four plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), contend that the state law, which is due to come into operation on July 1st, is in contravention of the United States federal law prohibiting housing discrimination and is, therefore, unconstitutional.
The Florida Attorney General's office did not provide an immediate response to a request for comment.
The law prohibits people who are “domiciled” within the geographical boundaries of China and who do not possess U.S. citizenship or green card holders from owning buildings or land located in the state of Florida.
Florida's legislation prohibits the majority of citizens from Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, and North Korea from engaging in property ownership within a 10-mile radius of military installations or structures deemed "critical infrastructure facilities" such as airports, refineries, or power plants.
The law has a restricted provision, which permits individuals holding visas that are not oriented towards tourism from these nations to possess a solitary property that is situated beyond a distance of five miles from key infrastructure and does not exceed an area of two acres.
However, people who possess or obtain property in contravention of the law are liable to face criminal prosecution, fines and confinement.
The Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed the law in early in May, stating that it would “help Americans from the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.”
In the lawsuit, the ACLU argues that the law violates certain provisions of the U.S. Constitution, which ensures equitable safeguarding and fair legal proceedings are provided through the guarantee of equal protection and due process.
Furthermore, the ACLU has asserted that the state law contravenes the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits any form of housing-related bias based on race or national origin.