Texas bill introduced to prevent Iranians, other nationalities from buying property
A bill introduced in the Texas senate would prevent Iranians, Chinese, Russians and North Koreans from owning property, possibly including dual nationals and green card holders.
The bill, introduced by Lois Kolkhorst, a Texas Republican state senator, follows concerns in Texas over foreigners and foreign entities who could engage in espionage by buying up US property.
Critics, however, point out that there's already a bill that exists restricting foreign companies from buying property in Texas. Moreover, this bill is unclear about the status of citizens it's targeting and goes further than simply safeguarding against espionage.
"The bill doesn't do any service to counter espionage," William White, director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, told The New Arab. "Basically, it puts into state policy xenophobic and anti-Asian policy.
He worries that the bill sets a precedent for further similar policies and will generally instil fear and discomfort among immigrants.
In a statement, the Muslim civil rights group described the bill as unconstitutional and expressed concern that it has a real chance of becoming law.
"This sets a bad precedence for the future of the state," said White. "It's a ridiculous thing to say to a person who has fled a regime that there's no space for you. This applies to individuals, not foreign governments, individuals who have made this state a better place. This is just a bill about fear. Now it can be anyone."
The bill, which is 25 per cent through the process, has yet to go to committee. Currently, Texas is run by a Republican governor and the party controls both chambers of the state legislature.