Protesters say even though ‘watered down’, bill that bans certain countries from owning land still harmful

After the bill’s revision, it now includes prohibiting governments and companies headquartered in certain countries from owning and purchasing Texas property.


Protesters against SB 147 protest outside of Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s office.

The Texas Senate has approved a revised version of a controversial bill that could restrict land ownership for people from certain countries. But those against the bill say it still hasn’t improved.

Senate Bill 147 targets China, Iran, Russia and North Korea. It now bans governments, companies headquartered there, and companies owned by or has majority of stock or other ownership in the countries from buying and owning property in Texas. It would still ban individuals who are a citizen of those countries from owning property.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, says it addresses potential security threats to Texas and the country. University of Houston professor, and Southwest Public Safety Technology Center Executive Director, Steven Pei was at a protest against the bill in Katy on Thursday outside of Kolkhorst’s office.

"I worked on national security after 9/11 including a bill on the Houston Ship Channel Security through the Texas Senate. We are fully aware of and support the importance of homeland security,” Pei said. “But I see the problem Kolkhorst has. She doesn't trust Asian Americans. Even after we've done so much for homeland security."

June Xu with United Chinese Americans was at the protest and said the revisions will still lead to racial profiling.

“This is discriminatory and this is not fair to any legal immigrants in the United States," Xu said. "Less discrimination is still discrimination.”

In a press release, protesters said that even though the bill has been watered down, it still contains a controversial provision that “blanketly bans immigrants from purchasing or owning certain types of properties and land interests.”

Other protestors said the bill would lead to more racial profiling. Organizers said they will continue to protest the SB147, which is now headed to the Texas House. Governor Abbott has said he plans to sign it.

Patricia Ortiz contributed to this report.

This post has been corrected to clarify that SB 147 still would prohibit certain individuals from owning land.

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