The Justice Department has weighed in on Florida’s controversial new law that bars nearly all Chinese nationals and businesses based in China from buying real estate in the state, saying the law violates the Constitution and federal law.

In a statement of interest filed in Florida federal court, the Justice Department said Senate Bill 264, signed by Gov. Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, Politico report.

DeSantis, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, touted the law earlier this year as a way to put Florida at the forefront of U.S. national security because China poses a huge risk to the state.

“Our food security is also our national security,” DeSantis said at the bill signing event, according to Politico. “So we don’t want the Chinese Communist Party to control any food production.”

The Justice Department, however, took a different view.

“These illegal provisions would seriously harm people simply because of their national origin, violate federal civil rights law, impair constitutional rights, and do not advance the state’s purported goal of enhancing public safety,” the Justice Department said in a statement of interest. According to the media report. “Florida has not established any legal connection between the protected state and the prohibition on individuals from the ‘relevant foreign state’ from purchasing or owning real property.”

It was the latest onslaught of attacks on DeSantis over the measure. In May, a group of Chinese nationals sued Florida officials, alleging the law was discriminatory and unconstitutional and violated the Fair Housing Act.

The law also prohibits foreign investors from Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, Iran, South Korea and Syria, among other “relevant countries,” from buying agricultural land in the state, as well as real estate within 10 miles of military and critical infrastructure. .

The latter range widely, including seaports, airports, chemical manufacturing facilities, power plants, water treatment plants and natural gas plants. Anyone who knowingly sells such real estate to individuals or entities in these countries will be punished by the state.

Over the past year, DeSantis has shown a willingness to tangle with the federal government and private companies in an effort to hone his conservative sincerity.

He has drawn national attention for his ongoing (potentially unconstitutional) feud with Disney over the so-called “don’t speak gay laws,” which restrict discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

Ted Glazer

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