Texas Bans Foreign Ownership of Certain Land for National Security

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Texas Senate passes a bill that bans citizens from countries that pose a national security threat to the U.S. from owning certain types of land in the state. The legislation was passed on Wednesday and targets countries that have been named on the Director of National Intelligence’s National Threat Assessment for three consecutive years. As of now, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are on the list.

The final version of the bill allows for a country to be removed from the list in case they fall off the National Threat Assessment due to regime change or for any other reason. Lawful permanent residents and dual citizens will also still be allowed to buy land.

Republican Texas Senator Lois Kolkhorst, who introduced the bill, stated that “Senate Bill 147 strikes the balance of national security – and the state is vital to our national security – while also allowing those that are seeking freedom, seeking asylum, fleeing these authoritarian regimes, to come here and live their lives and live the American dream.”

The bill only prohibits foreign ownership of land where it would pose a threat, such as agriculture, oil, timber, and mineral-bearing areas. Kolkhorst noted that “food security is national security. Oil and gas, our rare earth materials, timber – we need to be protecting that.”

Some lawmakers have expressed their concerns, stating that the bill takes away the rights of an entire class of people without due process and solely on the basis of their national origin.

Other states, such as North Carolina and Florida, have taken up similar legislation to prevent hostile foreign governments from purchasing land. In March, Sen. Tom Cotton introduced a bill that would ban Chinese citizens from purchasing farmland and real estate in the U.S., unless they were granted asylum as a refugee or were lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

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