Florida’s constitution could finally shed an anti-Asian reference to one of the darkest chapters of U.S. history. A South Florida lawmaker is urging voters to erase it.
Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Hollywood, says he wants to end Florida’s dubious distinction as the only state to still have the anti-immigrant language in its charter document.
“Unfortunately, the bill won’t do a whole lot in terms of reality, but what it will do at the end of the day it create a level of humanity that isn’t currently seen in the constitution.”
The Alien Land law dates back to 1926.
At the time, Florida was joining a national backlash against a wave of Chinese and Japanese immigration. California passed the first Asian Land Law in 1913.
Other states repealed their versions long ago. But Florida voters refused a rewrite in 2008. It failed 48 percent to 52 percent.
Jenne says the Alien Land provision is so unconstitutional it would never hold up in court. He adds the most important issue is dignity for his Asian constituents.