Chinese citizens are suing Florida over a law that prevents them from owning homes

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

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

DeSantis, who is expected to announce a presidential bid soon, said the law would protect Florida from the Chinese Communist Party, a common goal of Republicans.

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

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

State governments have introduced more than a dozen similar pieces of legislation in recent months. Florida will be the first to have it enacted into law.

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

Gary Fainot contributed to this story.

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