New Push To Repeal Florida's Foreign Landowner Ban

Jan 15, 2015

Florida is the only state that hasn't repealed its law relating to foreign land owners.
Credit Jarek Radimersky/flickr

A new push is underway to get some anti-immigrant language out of the Florida Constitution. The law relates to foreign property owners.

People who aren’t eligible for American citizenship can't own property in Florida. It’s written in Article 1 of the state Constitution.

Rep. Evan Jenne (D-Hollywood) has filed a bill asking voters to repeal the law. He says similar laws were passed around the country early in the 20th Century.

“Ours went on the books in 1926. Japanese farmers were really the target of it. It’s rooted in racism. It’s rooted in bigotry,” Jenne says. “Its only purpose is to make a group of people feel less than human and gives the government OK to do so.”

At the time, Asian immigrants weren’t allowed to become citizens because of a federal law that limited naturalization. 

These days, people from any country can apply for citizenship, so the wording in Florida’s Constitution really has no effect. Still, Jenne says it doesn’t belong there.

This is the second try at removing the language. An amendment on the ballot in 2008 didn't get enough votes.