FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Melissa Stek, email@example.com, 616-550-8039
Washington, DC—In a small victory for two Chinese American plaintiffs, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily halted enforcement of SB 264, a controversial Florida law that prevents many Chinese immigrants, including professors, students, employees, and scientists, from buying homes in the state. Florida’s SB 264 restricts people who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents and whose permanent home, or “domicile” is in China, from purchasing property in Florida. The exceptions to the prohibition are very narrow exceptions, including for those holding non-tourists visas or who have been granted asylum to purchase one residential property with restrictions on location and property size. The law also applies less restrictive rules to many immigrants from Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Syria but applies more restrictions and harsher penalties to people from China. The lawsuit challenging the discriminatory law is led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, DeHeng Law Offices PC, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and the law firm Quinn Emanuel, who represent Chinese immigrant plaintiffs and a local real estate firm impacted by the law.
The Eleventh Circuit found that the plaintiffs showed a substantial likelihood of success on their claim that the Florida law is preempted by federal law and issued a limited and temporary injunction barring enforcement of the law against two of the plaintiffs while the court considers the merits of the case.
Gisela Perez Kusakawa, Executive Director of the Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF), said: “ Florida’s alien land law calls back to a discriminatory history of prohibiting Asian immigrants from owning land by using false “national security” concerns and scapegoating Asian Americans as “perpetual foreigners.” The law raises concerns of fear-mongering and an overwhelming chilling effect among Asian Americans – and Chinese Americans and immigrants specifically. No one, including scholars, should be excluded from building a safe and secure life around their profession, research, or studies – regardless of where they live or where they are from. We hope this decision will provide ample opportunity for a thorough examination of the consequences of the bill and, ultimately, a complete reversal of the harmful and discriminatory law.”
Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) is a national non-profit that promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments and profiling in the U.S., AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars. AASF membership includes members from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, in addition to past and current university presidents, provost, vice provosts, deans, associate deans and past and current department chairs.