A bill in the Texas state legislature would prohibit many immigrants and H-1B visa holders from China and three other countries from owning property in the state. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott supports the bill. The prospect of individuals being unable to buy a home or invest in a business based on their country of origin raises legal issues and could damage the state’s reputation.
On January 15, 2023, Governor Abbott endorsed the bill, which is sponsored by Republican State Senator Lois Kolkhorst. In a tweet, Abbott said, “A bill is filed in Texas legislature to ban citizens, governments & entities of China, Iran, North Korea & Russia from purchasing land in Texas. I will sign it. This follows a law I signed banning those countries from threatening our infrastructure.”
The bill may be part of a Republican “primary” battle between Texas Gov. Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which has included both men sending migrants from the border to cities with Democratic mayors. “While Kolkhorst’s bill targets only the four countries and is related to real estate, DeSantis took action against seven countries and issued far broader prohibitions,” according to the conservative publication Center Square. “Last September, DeSantis issued an executive order prohibiting government entities from procuring technology products and services from companies owned by, controlled by or domiciled in seven foreign countries of concern: China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia and Venezuela.”