Florida law banning foreign ownership draws concern

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Yet she strongly intimated the law was at odds with her industry’s code of ethics: “We are bound by association, state, and federal laws that prohibit how our actions affect protected classes,” she said. “As new as this is, we have yet to see how our industries are going to respond to this in terms of the ethical and legal manner in which we handle clients and potential clients involved, and whether or not it actually does affect protected classes. Even though it looks as though it could be challenged formally at some point, it is currently passed. This means that everyone involved in this industry will have to double down to understand the interaction of the bill within the industry.”

Toshia Drummond (pictured right), of Approved Mortgage Solutions in Plantation, Fla., was a bit more strident in her response, saying the Florida law “…appears to unfairly single out individuals of Chinese and other nationalities, which goes against the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment,” she told MPA. “Discriminating against people based on their national origin is considered a form of discrimination and is a protected class under civil rights law.”

Legal experts seem to agree with that stance, with some worrying about the Florida law’s potential in setting a discriminatory precedent. Civil liberty and real estate experts also point to potential violations of the Constitution and the Fair Housing Act protecting homebuyers from being discriminated against based on race or national origin.

Not all Chinese people are members of the Chinese Communist Party

In opposing the bill before being enacted into law, the Florida Asian American Justice Alliance zeroed in on a sentiment voiced by DeSantis at a press conference leading up to his signing: “If you look at the Chinese Communist Party, they’ve been very active throughout the Western Hemisphere in gobbling up land,” DeSantis was quoted as saying. In essence, FAAJA officials said, the law “equates all Chinese citizens to agents of the CCP.”

Drummond agreed, suggesting the law was a slippery slope: “This is a cause for concern for other minority groups, as this may set a dangerous precedent for future legislation that targets specific racial or ethnic groups,” Drummond said. “Such policies could lead to unconstitutional discrimination that negatively affects the rights of all minority groups in America.”

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