Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is proposing a ban on countries hostile to the United States to purchase land through straw purchasers in Texas during a similar effort being considered in Austin.
The Texas state legislature is currently debating a bill that would bar nationals from Iran, Russia, North Korea and China from purchasing land in the state. The attorney general wants to prevent third-parties from buying land on behalf of these governments.
“If they’re connected to governments that seek our destruction, we have to protect ourselves and we shouldn’t be ashamed of that,” he said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has previously stated that he would sign the bill if it passes the legislature.
— Jennie Taer (@JennieSTaer) April 22, 2023
Paxton joins a number of officials in other states opposing the purchase of land by non-Americans.
A number of states, especially in the Midwest, restrict such foreign ownership.
Among foreign landholders, Canadians hold the most, at 12.8 million acres, or about 1% of all privately-held land. However, other nations such as China have increased their share of American property considerably in recent years.
This includes several examples of Chinese companies purchasing agricultural land and companies. One of the largest examples is the 2013 purchase of Smithfield Foods, which is the world’s largest pork product producer.
Another Chinese company purchased 300 acres of land near North Dakota’s Grand Forks Air Force Base.
China owns almost 400,000 acres, according to the FDA.
There are currently several bills in Congress considering similar restrictions on such international purchases. One of the latest is the Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act of 2023, sponsored by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).
The bill would “prohibit the purchase or lease of agricultural land in the United States by persons associated with certain foreign governments.”
Braun’s bill also has considerable support, including from fellow Republicans Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), as well as Democratic Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).
The bill states that federal lands, as well as “private agricultural land located in the United States” cannot be purchased by nations hostile to Washington.
These are the same as the ones targeted by Texas: North Korea, Iran, Russia and China.