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Justice Dept. says law signed by Gov. DeSantis restricting Chinese land ownership is unconstitutional

Dept. of Justice said new law signed by Gov. DeSantis is unconstitutional
Dept. of Justice said new law on foreign land ownership signed by Gov. DeSantis is unconstitutional 00:32

TALLAHASSEE - The U.S. Department of Justice said a new law, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, that restricts Chinese land ownership in Florida is unconstitutional.

DeSantis has said that the goal is to protect his state from one of the biggest security threats to the US.

The Justice Department filed a statement of interest in federal court in Tallahassee arguing that the law violates the Fair Housing Act. The filing also alleges the law also runs counter to the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment.

The law affects people from what Florida calls "foreign countries of concern" — China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria.  

The law, in part, targets Chinese people who are not U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.

It would prevent them from purchasing property in Florida, with some exceptions. For example, they each would be allowed to purchase one residential property up to two acres if the property is not within five miles of a military base and they have non-tourist visas. 

Desantis, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, said he is standing up to China and that President Joe Biden is too weak on foreign policy.

The law is scheduled to take effect on July 1st. 

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