A bill has been filed in the Texas Legislature that seeks to prevent companies, government entities, and citizens of hostile nations against America from owning land in Texas. The nations listed are China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The bill was filed by Texas Senator Lois Kolkhorst who contends that the acquisition of Texas land by the Chinese government is a national security issue.
“The growing ownership of Texas land by some foreign entities is highly disturbing and raises red flags for many Texans,” said Senator Kolkhorst, author of the controversial Senate Bill 147. “By comparison, as an American go try to buy land near a Chinese military base and see how it works out for you. It would never happen there and it shouldn’t happen here. Passing this law delivers some basic safeguards to ensure Texans remain in control of Texas land.”
SB 147 builds upon Texas legislation passed in 2021 that prohibited business with foreign-owned companies regarding Texas’ critical infrastructure. SB 147 also comes after the fact the Chinese have bought close to 130,000-140,000 acres of land near Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas to build a wind farm. Skeptics believe that the Chinese are trying to conduct surveillance on the Air Force base. Chinese policy states that all Chinese companies have to aid the Chinese government in intelligence gathering.
Supporters of the legislation, most notably Governor Greg Abbott, applaud the proposed SB 147 to prevent the Chinese government, and other hostile nations, from acquiring land in the United States and protecting our military bases, critical infrastructure, and other aspects of national security.
However, the problem people have with SB 147 is that it also bans citizens from the listed countries from owning land. People that are opposing the bill state that it prohibits immigrants from those countries from buying land and owning businesses. Additionally, there is concern that the bill will spurn anti-Asian and Iranian sentiments.
However, Senator Kolkhorst has stated that the bill does not target US citizens of those nationalities, ethnicities, or legal permanent residents (green card holders) from those nations from owning property. She makes clear immigrants of legal resident status, those with green cards, can still buy land and own businesses.
“It does not prohibit foreign business investment in Texas, because companies may still do business by leasing land and buildings,” she said. “The bill will make crystal clear that the prohibitions do not apply to United States citizens and lawful permanent residents – this has always been about common-sense safeguards against Russian, North Korean, Chinese, and Iranian authoritarian regimes, not those fleeing the tyranny of those governments who seek freedom in Texas.”