Democrat State Rep. Gene Wu of Houston called for citizens to oppose legislation that would ban foreign entities from purchasing land in Texas.

At Houston’s Chinese Community Center last week, Wu claimed that State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s (R–Brenham) legislation would prevent Asian immigrants awaiting U.S. citizenship from buying land and that the Texas Senate should not ban foreign countries from owning property. Wu continued to say that purchasing land can “make the American dream.”

Some, including Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, pushed back against Wu’s comments and asserted that the legislation targets foreign governments and companies, not individuals.

“If you want to legally come be part of our American story, welcome,” said Miller. “You want to become a citizen, swear your allegiance, and pay taxes then you can enjoy the privilege of home ownership in Texas regardless of where you were born. Period.”

According to Kolkhorst’s office, Senate Bill 147 “would prohibit any future purchase of or otherwise acquiring title to real property in the state of Texas by governments or entities affiliated with these countries or their citizens.”

The ban includes Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China.

To highlight the legislation’s importance, Kolkhorst pointed to a recent purchase of 130,000 acres in South Texas near Laughlin Air Force Base by a former member of the Chinese communist army in 2021. She also included examples in Florida and North Dakota, where Chinese corporations purchased hundreds of acres of land.

Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promised to ban foreign entities from countries like China and Iran from carrying out business in his state. DeSantis signed an executive order directing Florida’s Department of Management Services to ensure that the state is not vulnerable to hostile activities from “foreign countries of concern.”

Although Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has yet to take direct action against foreign entities, he expressed support for Kolkhorst’s measure on social media and said he will sign the legislation into law if it reaches his desk.

Despite claiming that his concerns with Kolkhorst’s legislation related to “anti-Asian hate,” Wu came under fire last year for his connections to China’s Houston Consulate, which Texas Scorecard chronicled in a special investigative report and Exposed, an exclusive podcast series.

Following his condemnation of SB 147, Wu held a press conference with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, U.S. Rep. Al Green (D–Houston), and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D–Houston), calling for the Texas Senate and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to block the legislation.

“What we are saying to you today is that we should target no one,” said Wu. “We should not target China, we should not target Russia, we should not target any place.”

As of publication, Wu has not responded to requests for comment from Texas Scorecard.

Concerned citizens can use Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory to contact their lawmakers and ask how they will vote to protect Texas land.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.