GOAABA Donates to the Relief Efforts in the Philippines

GOAABA  joined forces with the Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida to pool resources and make a joint donation to those who are suffering from the devastation resulting from Typhoon Haiyan. We are proud to announce that together, our organizations and private contributors donated a total of $4,000.00 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts in the Philippines. The money will be used to provide assistance and aid to the victims and their families during the ongoing recovery...

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Florida’s Alien Land Law: The Last Vestige of Discrimination

By: Christine M. Ho, Esquire Chair of the Alien Land Law Committee, Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association Tom, a Vietnamese restaurant owner, worked hard all of his life and saved up some money to buy a house. Every weekend, he shopped with his wife and two small children for their dream home in a suburb of Orlando. With the help of his realtor, he finally found the house. It had four bedrooms with a pool and a white picket fence. At closing, the seller said, “Wait a minute. I am not going to sell this house to you because Asians cannot legally own a house in Florida.” You would think the seller is crazy and is not telling you the truth. Shockingly, the seller is correct. In Florida, a little known law holds that people of Asian descent cannot own real estate in Florida! This law prohibiting Asians from owning real property is known as the “Alien Land Law” and was passed in 1926. The Alien Land Law targeted Asian immigrants and was intended to prevent them, as well as other immigrants, from owning real estate in the State of Florida. Many other states in the Union also passed similar alien land laws as a result of the increasing racism against Asian immigrants during the first quarter of the twentieth century. In 1913, California was the first state to pass an alien land law. California’s alien land law stemmed from the racial animosity against Japanese farmers who had recently moved to California and had started acquiring and owning agricultural land. By the end of World War II with anti-Asian sentiment at an all time high, Arizona, Washington, Louisiana, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, Wyoming, Utah, and Arkansas had all passed their own versions of the alien land law. Since that time, all of these states have repealed their alien land laws. Florida is the only state in the United States that has not repealed its Alien Land Law. Florida alone retains this discriminatory and racist law in its Constitution. Even more surprising is that the recent attempt to repeal Florida’s Alien Land Law failed. In November 2008, Florida voted on the proposed Amendment 1, which attempted to repeal Florida’s Alien Land Law. The ballot title was “Declaration of Rights,” and the text was as follows: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to delete provisions authorizing the Legislature to regulate or prohibit the ownership, inheritance, disposition, and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship. Ultimately, Amendment 1 failed by a vote of 47.9% (3,369,894 votes) to 52.1% (3,669,812 votes). Sixty percent (60%) was required to pass the ballot measure. In hindsight, supporters of Amendment 1 have admitted...

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