Florida’s ban on the purchase of real estate by citizens of China and some other countries is disputed

A new law barring citizens of China and some other countries from buying property in large swaths of Florida violates federal housing discrimination laws, a lawyer representing Chinese citizens living and working in the state told a federal judge Tuesday.

While other states have laws preventing foreigners from buying farmland, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Ashley Gorsky said the Florida law is extreme and discriminates against Chinese citizens, equating them with the Chinese Communist Party. She said there was no evidence that Chinese citizens were a security risk.

The ACLU is seeking an injunction to block the enforcement of the measure, which went into effect July 1.

“This is a very unusual law,” she told Judge Allen Winsor. “Florida’s law is truly extraordinary.”

The law applies to property within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of military installations and other “essential infrastructure” and also applies to citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea. But Chinese citizens and those who sell them real estate face the most severe punishment. The ban also applies to agricultural land.

The state argued that the law was not discriminatory because it dealt with security issues raised by these countries.

Winsor said this is a complex issue and he is in no hurry to resolve the request.

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