Discover more from Wonkette
Ron DeSantis's New Chinese Exclusion Act Hitting Them Where It Hurts. Them Being Real Estate Agents.
Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed what we’ll call the Look How Tough On China Ron DeSantis Is, Vote For Him Act of 2023, which prohibits anyone who's "domiciled" in China from buying homes or property in Florida, unless they’re a US citizen or permanent resident. DeSantis said the law was absolutely needed to protect Florida and the USA from the threat of Chinese Communist Party members stealing our essence by owning a condo in Miami-Dade, or by setting up locations to spy on airports, water treatment plants, or the Marlins’ spring training facilities.
Plus of course, the whole “tough on China” presidential race thing.
In practice, as NBC News reports, the law has thrown a wrench into the Florida real estate market, causing frustration and chaos not for Chinese Communist Party officials but for ordinary well-off Chinese citizens who, like many other foreigns, would like to have a vacation home in the States, or to purchase a place for their US-based adult kids to live, or to buy a condo or house to live in while they work in the US, what with China being not only an international center of evil, but also of business, which Republicans supposedly love. (This is where a MAGAhead would hop in and say there are no legitimate Chinese bidnisspeople, only CCP spies.)
The law includes other restrictions on property ownership by foreign nationals, but only Chinese citizens are banned outright from purchasing real estate in the state.
Funny thing: It also seems that if you exclude an entire category of people who have the money to buy property in Florida, that’s also terrible for Florida’s real estate business, which is a pretty big chunk of the economy. Now look what DeSantis has gone and done: He’s made us feel the teensiest bit of empathy for developers and real estate people.
And of course, the ban on property sales to Chinese nationals has led to ethnic profiling, because what realtor wants to go to jail for a year and/or be fined up to $1,000 for breaking the new dumb law? Potential buyers are also being scared off, even folks who might not be excluded under the law, since the penalty for a Chinese national who illegally purchases property in Florida is up to five years in prison and way larger fines.
NBC News leads its story off with the experience of Kristen Zhang, a longtime Orlando resident whose parents in China decided last year to build a house near her — not to spy on Walt Disney World but to be near their grandkids. (NBC News doesn’t say how high up the grandchildren are in the CCP, clearly covering up the real scandal.)
After the new law slammed down this summer, Zhang’s parents had to cancel their contract with the developer; luckily, they were able to call things off soon enough to get their deposit back. But Zhang said it isn’t the money that bothers her:
“This is racist,” she said. “After I told my parents about the bill, they feel like America doesn’t welcome us. They don’t want to come here anymore.”
Again, this is where your MAGAhead says “Good! Stay out! And take your daughter with you, commie spy!”
What with the whole thing being racist AF, the ACLU and other civil rights groups joined a group of Chinese residents to sue Florida in federal court.
The Justice Department backed their effort in a filing this summer, saying the measure is unconstitutional, but a judge ruled against the challenge in August, teeing up an appeal.
NBC News also looks at the supply side, interviewing several folks in the Florida real estate biz, who say the law has hurt their sales and generally been a fuckbungle. Real estate agent Frank Lin, whose clientele is mostly Chinese buyers in both the US and overseas, said his business had been cut in half by the law. But then, real estate agents are probably all in cahoots with communism too. Bet many of them even watch Disney movies with their kids.
Others in the real estate business say the law practically demands they screen clients in ways that border on racial profiling, or just stomp right past that border:
“If somebody comes in and is Asian-looking, you’re automatically going to start asking questions about where you’re from, which never used to happen,” said Khalid Muneer, founder of Jupiter Properties in Central Florida and president of the Greater Orlando chapter of the Asian American Realtors Association.
“Is this racism? Is this stereotyping? We are very well aware of the fact that we can have issues. We can be accused of discrimination,” Muneer said.
Muneer said that some Florida realtors simply steer clear of working with Chinese nationals out of fear of prosecution, and added that the law puts unreasonable expectations on realtors: “[Are] we supposed to be FBI agents investigating people and asking them all kinds of questions?” Of course you are, but also without racially profiling anyone, so just demand everyone pass a citizenship screening as soon as they’re interested in buying, silly.
Oh yes, and another provision of the law, NBC News notes, requires that Chinese nationals who already owned property in Florida need to register it with the Florida Department of Commerce before January 1, 2024 or face steep fines — up to $1,000 a day. There’s only one little problem, according to realtor Frank Lin: “They don’t even have a form yet or place or website, so that’s confused everyone.”
Well gosh, the state still has all of November and December, plus the remains of this month, to set all that up. A Commerce Department spox told NBC News the agency will get that done for sure. Surprisingly, the spokesperson didn’t add any snotty comments asking why NBC News is so interested in making things easy for Chinese Communists, so we suppose there’ll be some house cleaning in the agency’s comms team.
So far, the real estate restrictions haven’t yet boosted DeSantis’s standing in the polls. Maybe he’ll need to kidnap some Chinese nationals looking at open houses this weekend and fly them to Massachusetts.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please subscribe, or if a one-time donation would float your boat, the button below will help you … uh … anchor your money, with Wonkette. By giving it to us. Or something.