A controversial Senate Bill is angering some Texas residents. The bill aims to limit people from four countries from owning property in Texas.
If passed, Senate Bill 147 limits citizens from North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China from buying Texas property.
The current bill states that people who are legal permanent U.S. residents, visa holders, and asylum seekers will be banned from buying property.
The bill is creating protests across Texas at Houston City Hall and Fort Bend County Justice Center among the Asian community and local officials.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George said:
“Injustice for one is injustice for all. It’s unfathomable that our state leaders, who are elected to serve in the best interest of all of their constituents, would target groups of people from different nations and prohibit them from their right to own property. It’s blatant discrimination.”
Texas Senator Lois Kolkhurst proposed the bill and stated:
"As I have traveled across my senate district, one of the top concerns for many Texans is national security and the growing ownership of Texas land by certain adversarial foreign entities, such as the 130,000 acres near Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio that was recently purchased by a former officer of the Chinese army. Many Texans find this trend highly disturbing and a major red flag.”
But after initial feedback on the bill Senator Kolkhurst plans to remove legal permanent U.S. residents which caused some concern from the Asian community.
“Upon final passage, this legislation will ensure that all US citizens regardless of country of origin can buy and own property in Texas. The time to address adversarial countries acquiring land is before it becomes widespread; not after they already control substantial amounts of Texas. Others have recently placed restrictions on foreign land acquisition such as the Trudeau administration in Canada.”
Sen. Kolkhorst released an updated statement Friday, stating:
“This bill addresses a national security issue and will preserve our cherished private property rights and constitutional freedoms. It does not prohibit foreign business investment in Texas, because companies may still do business by leasing land and buildings. Passing this law delivers the safeguards to ensure that Texas remains Texas.
SB 147 builds on SB 2116 which passed the Texas Legislature unanimously in 2021. That bill protected critical infrastructure against contracts or doing business with Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran because of national security issues. Mirroring that legislation, SB 147 also names the same four countries and prohibits them from future purchases of Texas lands. The bill will make crystal clear that the prohibitions do not apply to United States citizens and lawful permanent residents. This has always been about common-sense safeguards against Russian, North Korean, Chinese, and Iranian authoritarian regimes, not those fleeing the tyranny of those governments who seek freedom in Texas.”
“The whole world will see it. It's not about Texas. It’s America. They are putting politicians’ personal preference above the law. It’s just a couple of people that have this thinking."
Texas politician speaks out against the bill
Texas State Representative Gene Wu held a press conference about Senate Bill 147.
"This is not just a Chinese problem this is not just a Russian problem or Iranian problem or North Korean problem this is a problem for every community that has been targeted."
Harris County Democratic Party Chair Odus Evbagharu said:
“This blatantly racist and xenophobic piece of legislation is exactly what we expect coming from what is anticipated to be the most conservative session we’ve seen in Texas.”
Governor Greg Abbott supported the bill and said:
"There are people who immigrate lawfully to the United States of America from China, and it will not impact them at all.”
The governor also tweeted:
"I will sign it. This follows a law I signed banning those countries from threatening our infrastructure."
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