Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC Condemns the Inclusion of a Discriminatory Land Law in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act

Advancing Justice - AAJC Urges Changes to NDAA
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington, D.C. — September 6, 2023 — Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice - AAJC) opposes the inclusion of discriminatory land law in the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act that targets Chinese people. Right now, America is seeing a resurgence in these discriminatory land laws with legislation introduced in at least 25 states. Several states have already enacted them such as Florida and Tennessee and multiple related bills have also been introduced at the federal level.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, issues the following statement:

Advancing Justice – AAJC opposes S. 2226 § 1086 (Senate Amendment 813) introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-ND) in the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This provision would effectively prohibit foreign nationals from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from owning agricultural land in the United States by requiring the President of the United States to block specific types of transactions based on recommendations from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The amendment currently has no exceptions for visa holders and contains a high standard for a waiver, which must be granted by the President of the United States.

The inclusion of the Rounds Amendment in this year’s NDAA is yet another chapter in America’s history of discriminatory land laws targeted at the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Like many other discriminatory laws and bills of this kind, the provision ensnares innocent Chinese individuals because the amendment fails to distinguish between entities from China and Chinese individuals. We are not naïve to the geopolitical tensions between China and the United States; however, we believe that there is a better solution that can effectively address real national security threats without demonizing entire communities.

The Asian American community has experienced periods of systemic land discrimination before, such as targeting Chinese and Japanese individuals in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the United States. Many states across the country previously weaponized the very definition of citizenship to impose restrictions against Asian immigrants to prevent them from purchasing and even leasing land. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC strongly opposes this amendment and existing harmful and xenophobic legislation. We call on the Senate to strike this amendment from the NDAA in conferencing.”