Court Battles

Federal judge denies request to halt Florida law restricting Chinese land ownership

A federal judge in Florida denied a request from a group of Chinese citizens to halt a new Florida law that bans those from certain countries from purchasing property in parts of the state.

In a ruling Thursday, United States District Judge Allen Winsor denied a preliminary injunction motion that would have blocked the law — which went into effect on July 1 — until the case moves through the court.

Winsor said the plaintiffs did not show a substantial likelihood that they will win the case, a requirement to grant a preliminary injunction.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the property law in May, which restricts people from a “foreign country of concern” — defined as China, Russia, Iran, Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria — from purchasing land and homes in Florida.

The law bans citizens from those counties from owning property within 10 miles of military installations and requires those who already own property restricted by the new law to register with the state or face fines.

A group of four Chinese citizens later filed a lawsuit, arguing the state law “stigmatizes them and their communities, and casts a cloud of suspicion over anyone of Chinese descent who seeks to buy property in Florida.”

The plaintiffs argue the law is unconstitutional and violates the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination by housing providers based on race, color, religion sex, national origin, familial status or disability.

When signing the bill, DeSantis argued the law was to “counteract the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party in the state of Florida.”

He echoed this argument Thursday, writing in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Biden’s Department of Justice sided with Communist China against Florida’s law prohibiting CCP-tied entities from buying land in Florida. I’m glad the federal judge made the correct decision and denied a preliminary injunction on SB 264.”

DeSantis said Florida will “continue to fight” against the influence of Chinese Community Party in the state.

In a post on X, the American Civil Liberties Union said it will be appealing Winsor’s ruling.

Tags China Florida real estate Ron DeSantis