Mayor Turner joins voices condemning SB 147, legislation called ‘racist’ that aims to ban citizens, businesses from China, Iran, North Korea, Russia from purchasing land in Texas

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner condemns Senate Bill 147 on Jan. 23, 2023. (Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Local, and state leaders gathered outside Houston City Hall Monday to denounce the recently-filed Senate Bill 147, which would prohibit citizens and business entities from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from purchasing land within the state of Texas.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was among Rep. Gene Wu, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, CAIR-Houston, and other leaders.

According to Democrats, SB 147 would ban many asylum seekers and immigrants from China, North Korea, and other countries, residents with green cards, from buying property in the state of Texas. There are approximately half a million “green card” holders from China alone living in the United States.

The bill was filed on Nov. 14, 2022, by Republican State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, who released a statement, reading:

“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.”

READ: Local officials speak out against ‘racist’ bill banning citizens, businesses from China, Iran, North Korea, Russia from purchasing land in Texas

“After an unprecedented rise in anti-Asian hate around the nation, our communities continue to struggle against not only violence within our society, but with political persecution as well,” Rep. Wu said. “SB 147 is discriminatory, hateful, and brings back painful reminders of laws passed a hundred years ago that specifically prevented Chinese individuals from owning property, starting businesses, or even marrying the person they love.”

If passed, Democrats said this would only increase and escalate xenophobia toward hundreds of thousands of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Houstonians.

SB 147 reads:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to the purchase of or acquisition of title to real property by certain aliens or foreign entities.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. Section 5.005, Property Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec.5.005. ALIENS. Except as provided by Section 5.0051, an [An] alien has the same real and personal property rights as a United States citizen.

SECTION 2. Subchapter A, Chapter 5, Property Code, is amended by adding Section 5.0051 to read as follows:

Sec.5.0051. PURCHASE OF OR ACQUISITION OF TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY BY CERTAIN FOREIGN INDIVIDUALS OR ENTITIES IS PROHIBITED.

Notwithstanding any other law, the following may not purchase or otherwise acquire title to real property in this state:

(1) a governmental entity of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia;

(2) a company or other entity that is:

(A) headquartered in China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia;

(B) directly or indirectly held or controlled by the government of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia; or

(C) owned by or the majority of stock or other ownership interest of which is held or controlled by individuals who are citizens of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia;

(3) a company or other entity that is owned by or the majority of stock or other ownership interest of which is held or controlled by a company or entity described by Subdivision (2); or

(4) an individual who is a citizen of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia.

SECTION 3. The changes in law made by this Act apply only to the purchase of or other acquisition of title to real property on or after the effective date of this Act. The purchase of or other acquisition of title to real property before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect immediately before the effective date of this Act, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.

SECTION 4. This Act takes effect September 1, 2023

“Texas Republicans have proven once again that they can’t improve the lives of Texas families by fixing the power grid, funding public education or expanding Medicaid. Instead, they continue to use minority communities as scapegoats,” Evbagharu said. “SB 147 does not protect Texas land. This piece of legislation targets lawful immigrants with visas and green cards by not allowing them the same economic opportunity many others who have immigrated to this country have been afforded.”


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