Federal Court Appeal in Miami Over Florida’s Discriminatory Housing Law

SB 264 unconstitutionally bans many Chinese immigrants — as well as immigrants from Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, and North Korea — from buying homes in Florida

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
April 12, 2024 1:00 pm

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On April 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will hear arguments in Shen v. Simpson, a lawsuit challenging SB 264, a Florida law banning many Chinese immigrants, including people here lawfully as professors, students, employees, and scientists, from buying a home in large swaths of the state. This law also unfairly discriminates against immigrants from Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, and North Korea, but it singles out people from China for especially draconian restrictions and harsher criminal penalties.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, DeHeng Law Office, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and the law firm Quinn Emanuel are representing four Chinese immigrants who live, work, study, and raise families in Florida, but are now prohibited from purchasing real estate there, as well as a local real estate firm whose business will be affected.

Earlier this year, the court of appeals barred enforcement of the law against two of the plaintiffs while the court considers and decides the merits of the appeal. In the ruling, a unanimous panel of three judges found it substantially likely that SB 264 conflicts with federal law. The plaintiffs are now asking the court to block the law more broadly as the case moves forward in the district court.

The legal team is available for interviews before and after. Following arguments, there will be a press conference with the legal team and community leaders.


Ashley Gorski and Patrick Toomey from the ACLU, Bethany Li from AALDEF, and Clay Zhu from DeHeng Law Office will be in court arguing that this law violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to equal protection under the law and codifies and expands housing discrimination against people of Asian descent — something expressly forbidden by the Fair Housing Act.


Friday, April 19 at 9 a.m. ET (Note: Given security, we recommend arriving 15 minutes early)


U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit (99 N.E. 4th Street, Miami, Florida 33132)

Livestream available here: https://video.ibm.com/channel/UHRmcWYPYas

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