This week marks the 70th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, one of our nation's "greatest hits" in its history of anti-Asian racism. The act barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States and prohibited Chinese immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens.
Good thing we're now living in the 21st century, where super-racist citizenship laws are totally a thing of the past. Right? Righ... oh yeah, but then there's Florida.
70 Years After U.S. Repeals Chinese Exclusion Act, Fla.'s Still Stands.
Upon passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, more than thirty states followed the federal government's lead, passing laws and amendments that excluded Asian Americans from the full rights of citizenship. Those unconstitutional provisions have since been repealed in every state -- except Florida, where the "Alien Land Law" is still on the books. The statute, approved by voters in 1923, bars Asian citizens from owning property.
You don't need to go hunting with a law professor for obscure anti-Asian language in our great state's basic document of government. It's prominent, right in Article 1, the first thought expressed after a broad grant of human rights "to all natural persons."That's still a law. Right now. While legal scholars agree that the law is unenforceable and if challenged, would be held unconstitutional, it is still officially on the books. This openly racist, xenophobic law is still right there in the Florida Constitution in 2013. In fact, a couple of years ago, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association got a repeal measure on the ballot... and surprise, it was defeated.
It says this: "The ownership, inheritance, disposition and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship may be regulated or prohibited by law." And then, as if it had only momentarily lost its mind, the constitution resumes with a perfectly straight face: "No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or physical disability."
It seems that the Sunshine State actively wants to stay in the last century.
More here: Law Of The Land In Florida Is A Source Of Irritation For Asians