Xenophobic laws prohibiting foreigners from property ownership

Florida enacted in 2023 (effective date 7/1/23) SB 924: Purchase or Acquisition of Real Property and Strategic Assets by the People’s Republic of China. The act prohibits ownership of over 50 acres of farm and, and property with 509 miles of “strategic assets in the state.” (The key passage is below).

This Florida law has served as a template of laws proposed in other states. This is perhaps to most visible evidence of a nationwide, largely Republican-driven, campaign to discriminate against foreigners in particular Chinese. South Dakota Governor.

Politico quotes a Republican Congressman: ““From Chinese Communist Party-affiliated purchases of agricultural land to efforts by the party to influence state and local politics, states are on the front lines of our New Cold War with the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chair of the House Select Committee on China.

The Committee of 100 has been tracking legislation to restrict outright bar citizens of certain countries from owning property (the Committee is described below).

Summary of anti-foreigner property restrictions:

So far, in 2024 (as of April 25):

151 bills restricting property ownership by foreign entities have been considered by 32 states (115 bills) and Congress (36 bills). Of the 151 total bills, 7 passed and were signed into law in Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska (2 bills), South Dakota, and Utah, respectively Of the 7 bills passed so far, 3 prohibit Chinese citizens from purchasing or owning some form of property: Indiana’s HB 1183, Nebraska’s LB 1301, and South Dakota’s HB 1231.

Since the beginning of 2023:

241 bills restricting property ownership by foreign entities have been considered by 39 states (205 bills) and Congress (36 bills). Of the 241 total bills, 194 have been under consideration that would prohibit Chinese citizens from purchasing or owning property. 24 passed and were signed into law. Of the 24 bills passed so far, 7 prohibit Chinese citizens from purchasing or owning some form of property: Arkansas’ SB 383, Florida’s S 264, Indian’s HB 1183 and SB 477, Nebraska’s 1301, South Dakota’s HB 1231, and West Virginia’s SB 548.

Key passage in Florida’s law:

(2) Notwithstanding any other law, beginning July 1, 2023,

any company or development owned or controlled by a company that is owned, in whole or in part, by, or is a subsidiary of, a company that is owned by the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party or whose principal place of business is located within the People’s Republic of China, or any intermediary acting on behalf of such company or development. may not:

(a) Purchase or acquire any real property or strategic assets located within 50 miles of a

(b) Purchase or acquire any real property or strategic assets located within 50 miles of strategic assets in this state; or

(c) Purchase more than 50 acres of agricultural land within the state, including any contiguous agricultural land that equals more than 50 acres in total.

Committee of 100:

On its website the Committee of 100 writes that the “Committee of 100 is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, science, technology, and the arts. The organization was formed following the aftermath of Tiananmen Square… The name “Committee of 100” derives from a blend of inspirations of ‘We the People’ and an ancient Chinese idiom, 老百姓 (lao bai xing) to reflect both American values and Chinese culture. Translated directly, the characters 老百姓 mean ‘old (老) hundred (百) names (姓)’. Figuratively, 老百姓 represents everyone in the community. By adopting the name Committee of 100 (百人會) , the Committee of 100 Members aimed to embody the American spirit encapsulated in ‘We the People’ and interweave it with the tapestry of Chinese history..

How immigration will affect the presidential election

Here in few words how immigration will affect the presidential election: Biden will attempt to recover from a (correct in my view) casual approach to the border crisis, which is actually a number of crises.  Trump, with complete control over Republican messaging, is already calling for revengeful, draconian policies that resonant with many Republicans but leave independents cold.  The independent electorate, if it perceives that Biden is consistently addressing the border crisis as they define it, will settle back to their normal view of immigration as a positive thing for the country that they don’t really want to pay much attention to. Here are five polls which pretty much tell the same story of Biden’s challenge.

Immigration has risen sharply in saliency among voters, from the low – mid tens to the 20s. This is reflected in three separate polls, noted below.

Note, however, that the immigration issue as presented in the political arena focuses only on immigration which is publicly viewed as “illegal.” It was not a slip of the tongue when Biden referred to “illegal” instead of the legalistic term “undocumented” in his State of the Union speech.  I expect that the White House knows full well that the crisis of “illegal” migration embraces pretty much all activity on the Mexican border: individuals and families seeking asylum, those seeking to avoid detection on entry, drug smuggling, sex trafficking.

The bipartisan bill was designed to address all these issues. Below, I report on broad support for the bipartisan bill.

the Center for Immigration Studies summarizes three polls — Gallup, Wall Street  Journal, and Fox News —  all circling around the came core observations that the electorate other than Democrats are very worried about the border crisis, and that Biden is losing on this issue in large numbers.

The Trump team is attempting to leverage this sharply higher salience over the border to a broad assault on all existing unauthorized residents,  Bannon’s statement in late February calls for mass deportations, presumably all 11 million, and also calls for a complete dismantling of the asylum program. Typical with Trump’s instincts, he pushes away more people than he attracts. Americans do not want to see photos of police arresting people at their homes or work, nor do they want photos of large detention centers.

Support for the bipartisan bill  is strong among independents. Self-identifying independent voters rose from about 30% of voters in the 2000s to about 40% today.

A fourth poll Third Way poll shows strong support for the bipartisan bill among independents. The poll breaks the bill down to 12 provisions. In ten of the provisions, independents approved of five between 60 and 69%, and in five more between at or above 70%, for instance “emergency powers to close borders”  and “new federal powers for drug enforcement.” Receiving well less support are two, including “builds more detention centers” (39%).

There is a fifth poll– Marist.  This poll amplifies what I noted above. It shows that Biden must demonstrate that he had a credible, bipartisan plan to control the border

Independents are more than twice as likely to choose the Republicans (38%) rather than the Democrats (17%) when it comes to handling the issue of immigration. However, more than three in ten independents (31%) think neither party can adequately address the issue

44% of independents think increasing security at the United States-Mexico border to reduce illegal crossings should be the top immigration priority.

Only 14% of Americans say deporting those who entered the country illegally should be the top priority for immigration. This is the constituency which Trump is focusing on.

55% of independents think America’s openness to people from all over the world is essential to who we are as a nation.






Polling puts immigration as top concern

A January 22 2024 Harvard Harris poll shows that, compared to January 2022, when asked what is the most important issue facing the country, 38% of Republicans picked immigration in 2022 and 50% in 2024; for Democrats, the vote rose from 10% to 18%; for Independents, the vote went from 19% to 37%.  Overall, immigration was the top concern in 2024 at 37%,up from 23% in 2022.

However, when asked in 2024 what was personally the most important issue, the vote for immigration was lower: Republican 27%, Democrats 9% and Independents 18%.

In 2024, 81% of Republicans said that the problem at the border was getting worse, compated to 45% of Democrats and 68% of Independents.

Concern about immigration within the Republican party is much higher among New Hampshire primary Trump voters, 79%  of whom said it was the most important issue, vs. 20% of Haley voters. (The choices were foreign policy, abortion, immigration and the economy).

Can immigration finally work for Republicans as a wedge issue?

Republicans have repeatedly returned to immigration as a wedge issue, to appeal to and bring over a some Democrats.  This has been Trump’s desire from the minute he stepped off the elevator. There is no state that I know in which an anti-immigration movement, and specifically an anti -unauthorized person movement, has had a lasting impact by swinging politics in the direction of Republicans absent other major issues (but I could be wrong).

The reality is the the great majority of Americans don’t care that much about immigration, and extremely few care enough to vote for the other party (as opposed for example to abortion).

My question now is whether House Republicans can effect what Trump so much wanted in 2020, which was to make immigration so big an issue that it will swing voters his way to win in November. Here is some polling figures from December that the Republicans have an uphill fight; that they are in effect doubling down on their appeal to their base rather than moving the electorate at large; that the electorate wants a bipartisan rather than a partisan solution. Yet House Republicans are exultatingly branding their immigration policy as hyper-partisan combat.

California Proposition 187 barred unauthorized persons from certain public services. It passed, 59% to 41%, in 1994, but was gutted by court decisions. A lasting impact was that Latinos were turned off by the Republican Party, immigrant advocacy grew, and the Republican Party ever since has held no more than one third of the seats in the state’s Senate.

In the mid 2000s, many localities across the U.S. tried to pass laws barring landlords from renting to unauthorized persons.  These measures were blocked by law and eventually the movement was dead by 2011.

YouGov polled Americans in early December poll of Americans on a wide range of issues, including immigration. Opinion polls about preferences in immigration, for example whether to increase or decrease the number of persons granted asylum, are, in my opinion, so conjectural and based on so little shared facts as to be close to worthless.

Happily, the pollsters asked people a question the responses to which I believe can be relied on. The question was about a preference for a bipartisan deal involving national security and immigration. How much does the public want a deal a key attribute of which is that it is bipartisan? It appears, a lot. This is the opposite of the House’s expressly partisan strategy.

The question is “Congress is considering a bipartisan deal that would pair aid to  Ukraine and Israel with border security funding and stricter asylum standards for entering the United States. Do you support or oppose this deal.”

On this question 16% of respondents said they don’t know how to decide; 19% of those with less than college education said they do not know. There is pretty strong support for a bipartisan deal. For example, 58% of Republicans strongly support or somewhat support a bipartisan deal. 46% of Democrats strongly support or somewhat support a bipartisan deal. Union households are particularly in favor of a bipartisan deal – 59%.

When you remove the people who say they don’t know you find a surprising result — that over 65% of Republicans want a bipartisan deal while only about 55% of Democrats want one.

Are Dems, Reps or both responsible for polarization?

Washington Post columnist Jason Willick writes that Democrats have moved to the left – more inclusive – while the Republicans have remained evenly divided between inclusive and restrictive members.

Jason cites this research article, saying (I assume drawing from the article) “In 1994, just 5 percent of Democrats and Republicans on both sides wanted immigration levels to increase. They drifted apart gradually in the 2000s and suddenly in the 2010s. In 2022, 41 percent of Democrats, compared with 10 percent of Republicans, supported higher immigration levels.”

I covered this split in 2023 here.

Polarization vs politization?

In reality, while polls reveal a lot of polarization on both sides, what is not well reflected in the polls is the saliency, or the importance of immigration – how important it is to the people being polled – and what they want to do about it politically. We need to pay attention to how groups in America politicize immigration.  When we take that into account it becomes evident that many conservatives tend to have very pronounced cultural misgivings about immigration and are willing to communicate these misgivings politically by supporting Trump.  There is no Democratic politician or Democratic movement that is anywhere near Trump in pushing an inclusive policy.




Racial and ethnic diversity in Congress

133, or 25%, of the 534 voting members of Congress as of January 3, 2023 are non-white. (Go here.)

Here is the breakdown, showing numbers in Congress,  percentage of Congress, and percentage of total eligible voters in the U.S. as of 2020.

White: 401 members (75%). 67% of total eligible voters.

Black: 60 members (11.2%).  12.5% of total eligible voters.

Hispanic: 54 members (10%). 13.3% of total eligible voters

Asian: 18 members (3.4%). 4.7% of total eligible voters

American Indian / Alaskan native: 5 members (1%). These groups make up about 2% of the total population; most likely less of total eligible voters.

The Eritrean diaspora

Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, and which has been run by the former independence movement leader and now dictator pretty much since, Isaias Afwerki, has one of the most intensely alienated diasporas in the world. 800,000 Eritreans, or 13% live outside the country, some 300,000 of whom live in liberal democracies.  The diaspora population is riven by political schisms. Akwerki rules without a constitution or public budget. It may be the most difficult African country for the diaspora to exert any influence.

The Latino vote in November 2022

“We should aim for new narratives about Latinos that are as complicated and divided as America itself.” — from There Is No One Story About Latino Voters: The results of last week’s midterm elections are good news for Latino voters, who should be viewed with more nuance by both parties, by Geraldo Cadava in The New Yorker, November 14:

In the spring of 2021, after months of analysis, a consensus emerged that Trump won thirty-seven or thirty-eight per cent of the Latino vote in 2020, rather than the twenty-seven per cent reported in the American Election Eve Poll or the thirty-two per cent reported by national exit polls. Today, most professionals have settled on the idea that exit polls aren’t definitive, and the only way to really know how Latinos voted is to wait for precinct-level results, which take time to analyze.…..

Governor Ron DeSantis won the Latino vote outright, and not only among anti-communists. He won sixty-eight per cent of the Cuban vote, but also fifty-five per cent of the Puerto Rican vote and fifty per cent of votes from “other Latinos” (Venezuelans, Colombians, Mexicans, etc.)…..

[The varied results from the November elections] display an image that’s more blurry than clear. That’s a good thing, if not for Republican or Democratic partisans then for Latinos. It shows that both parties have work to do in winning Latino voters, and should lead to more curiosity about Latinos, not as Republicans or Democrats but as a rapidly growing group of Americans. Democrats have argued that Latinos by and large support progressive policies, on issues that include reproductive rights, the cost of health care, climate change, and gun safety. Yet support for those policies hasn’t necessarily translated into votes. Democrats see this largely as a problem of messaging, but it would be a mistake for them to ignore how many Latinos are drawn to Republican support for American exceptionalism, charter schools, religious freedom, lowering taxes, and slashing financial regulations.

What would be most unfortunate is if Republicans and Democrats cherry-picked the results that favored their narrative the most, to help them argue that there’s no need to shift course and no lessons to be learned from what happened in 2022. If the current partisan narratives hold—that Latinos are moving back toward the Democratic Party (not universally true), or that Latinos are becoming Republicans (also not universally true)—the conversation two years from now will be the same as it has been for the past two years. Instead, we should aim for new narratives about Latinos that are as complicated and divided as America itself.

I have commented on the rise of the Hispanic electorate here, here and


The upcoming Hispanic vote in November 2022

Hispanic support of the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 dropped 8-9% from 2016. Democrats have been relying on the support of roughly 90% of Black voters and 70% of Hispanic voters. (Go here.) Will the Hispanic Democratic vote in November be 65% or lower?

The Wall Street Journal reported on October 18: “In the closing weeks of the 2022 midterm cycle, survey research suggests the trends of recent years are likely to continue. In 2018, Republicans won only 25% of the Hispanic vote. This year, the four most recent national surveys of likely voters place the Republican share of Hispanic voters between 34% and 38%. In Florida, where Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Charlie Crist by 8 points in the race for governor, he leads by 16 among Hispanics. In Texas, where Democrat Beto O’Rourke trails Gov. Greg Abbott by 7 points overall, he is managing no better than a statistical tie among Hispanics.”


In Sept 2020 I wrote: Hispanics comprise about 13% of the eligible voters and rising. From 2004 though 2018, the number of vote-eligible Hispanics rose by 66% even though the entire population of the U.S, grew by only 10%. That is an annual increase of 3% of Hispanic eligible voters, vs. an absolute decline in white eligible voters. These trends will continue for some years.

In October 2021 Ronald Brownstein wrote: “…lots of working people of all races … want opportunity … They want a way to get ahead of their own effort.” “There are things that people trust Republicans on and you have to neutralize those disadvantages by moving to the center on them, and that includes the size of government, that includes the deficit.”

Hispanic education attainment has increased.  Hispanic home buying is expected to surge.

Anti immigration Republican rhetoric

From NY Times :

A memo written by Jim Jordan: The memo — which is marked “CONFIDENTIAL — FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY” — repeatedly insinuates that immigrants could be sex offenders, highlighting a handful of arrests at the southwestern border and of Afghan evacuees.

From Five Thirty Eight:

FL governor DeSantis: “Joe Biden has the nerve to tell me to get out of the way on COVID while he lets COVID-infected migrants pour over our southern border by the hundreds of thousands. No elected official is doing more to enable the transmission of COVID in America than Joe Biden with his open borders policies.”

From Axios:

Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Adam Laxalt touts his opposition to protections for Dreamers. Laxalt is seeking the nomination to run against Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D), the nation’s first Latina senator.

In Ohio, GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance claimed President Biden supported “open borders.” He referenced his own mother’s heroin addiction by saying, “This issue is personal. I nearly lost my mother to the poison coming across this border.”

BUT Voters in the Southwest in recent elections have rejected conservative candidates who have used harsh anti-immigrant language, GOP consultant Mike Madrid told Axios.