May 8, 2023 - Politics

DeSantis signs bill restricting certain foreigners from property buys

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference on June 07, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference on June 7, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday that prevents certain foreign nationals from China and six other countries from purchasing what the state deems sensitive American land.

Why it matters: DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential contender, proposed several of the law's provisions in September. The legislation could bolster his standing among conservatives who support anti-China measures.

  • Critics warn the law will discriminate against Chinese home seekers in Florida and impact a much wider immigrant population, Axios Miami's Deirdra Funcheon reports.

Zoom in: In addition to China, the law will also prohibit citizens of Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria from buying farmland or any property within 10 miles of a military installation, a seaport or an airport.

  • People from China who aren't U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents will be barred from owning Florida property altogether.
  • Anyone knowingly selling land in violation of the new regulations is liable to civil and criminal penalties. The legislation also creates a mechanism for the property to be forfeited to the state.

What they're saying: "We want to make sure that our agricultural land is not compromised by" the Chinese Communist Party's influence, DeSantis said at a news conference on Monday.

  • The law also ensures that Florida's seaports, "airports, power plants, telecom systems and other critical infrastructure will not be compromised by the CPP or any foreign adversary."

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect that the law prohibits citizens of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria from purchasing property within 10 miles of critical infrastructure, not 20, and that only non-U.S. citizens from China are barred from buying Florida property altogether.

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