TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A new law that bans citizens of China and some other countries from purchasing property in large swaths of Florida can be enforced while being challenged in court, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
Judge Allen Winsor denied the American Civil Liberties Union’s request to block the state law as it seeks to overturn it. The group is representing Chinese citizens living in Florida.
The law applies to properties within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of military installations and other “critical infrastructure” and also affects citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea. But Chinese citizens and those selling property to them face the harshest penalties. The prohibition also applies to agricultural land.
The ACLU argued the law discriminates against potential homebuyers by nationality. The state argued that the law isn’t discriminatory because it addresses security issues posed by those nations.