Georgia Dems: Bill limiting land purchases by Chinese 'agents' is racist


Democrats in Georgia are raising concerns over a bill passed by the state's House of Representatives that puts limitations on land purchases by Chinese "agents," arguing it could result in discrimination against Asian Americans.

Key points:

  • On March 21, the Georgia House of Representatives voted in favor of Senate Bill 420, a bill targeting land purchases by foreign "agents" of China, among other countries, restricting their ability to purchase farmland or land near military installations, reported the Associated Press.

  • Democrats argue that the bill perpetuates racism and suspicion towards Asians and Asian Americans.

  • Republicans defended the measure as essential for protecting the nation's food supply and military from foreign adversaries.

The big picture:

The details:

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  • SB420 prohibits "agents" of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Russia who are not U.S. citizens or legal residents from owning farmland or land within 10 miles of military installations unless they've spent at least 10 months of the previous year living in Georgia.

  • Democrats, led by Rep. Michelle Au (D, GA-48), argue that the bill promotes racism by suggesting residents from certain countries are untrustworthy or potentially traitorous based solely on their nationality.

  • Rep. Sam Park drew parallels between SB420 and historical discriminatory practices against Asian Americans, expressing concerns about potential profiling and the reluctance of real estate agents to work with Asian immigrants. “Passage of this bill will cast a shadow of suspicion on any Asian or Hispanic-looking person who may want to purchase land," Park said.

  • Republicans, such as Rep. Chas Cannon (R, GA-172) and Rep. James Burchett (R, GA-176), insist the bill isn't discriminatory but necessary to safeguard the nation's interests. “This bill is simply about Americans being able to feed Americans,” Cannon argued. “End of story. Because if we can’t feed ourselves, we can’t defend ourselves, in my opinion.”

  • The Democrats also raised concerns about potential litigation and taxpayer expenses that could arise from the bill, particularly in light of a federal appeals court ruling in Florida, where a similar law faced legal challenges.

What’s next:

  • The bill returns to the Georgia State Senate for further consideration before potentially being signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp.


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