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8.27.2008

vote out florida's racist "alien land law"

In November, Florida voters will see an amendment on the ballot that would eliminate an obscure provision of the Constitution that can stop people ineligible for U.S. citizenship from owning property in the state. When Florida voters first adopted the discriminatory land law in 1926, it targeted Asian immigrants, who were barred from becoming naturalized citizens purely because of their race: Land Law Amendment Targets 'Vestiges Of Racism'.

Florida is one of two states where an "alien land law" remains on the books. Proposals to ask Florida voters to eliminate the restriction failed in the Legislature for three years before it finally made through in 2007.

Supporters of the proposal want voters to close what they see as a dark chapter of history by wiping out the discriminatory language. Doing so would be "purely symbolic," because neither Asians nor any other ethnic group are barred from citizenship based on their race.

However, the proposal still has its share of opponents. There are those who argue that in the age of terrorism, the alien land provision could be needed to restrict property holdings of people who are ineligible for citizenship because they pose a threat to national security. Then of course, there are those folks who are just plain racist, if the article's comments indicate anything.

Florida readers, this is a racist, antiquated law, and needs to be voted out of the Constitution. Something to keep in mind when you head to the polls this November, as most folks will be preoccupied with voting for the next President of the United States. (Thanks, Andrew.)