Last Updated on August 8, 2022
Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) have introduced a bill that would prevent members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from buying land in the United States. The bill would also set penalties for foreign purchases that do not comply with federal reporting requirements.
The Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act was drafted in response to a 2020 report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggesting that “foreign persons held an interest in nearly 37.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land.”
“Approximately 14 states have some level of foreign ownership restriction, yet there are no federal restrictions on the amount of private U.S. agricultural land that can be owned,” the report states, according to Townhall.
“We cannot continue giving our top adversary a foot in the door to purchase land in the United States and undermine our national security,” Tuberville said in a statement.
The Chinese government has bought thousands of acres of farmland in the U.S. over the past two decades. They have also purchased a number of commercial businesses in the U.S. and Canada.
Just last month, Chinese food manufacturer Fufeng Group bought 300 acres of land near Grand Forks, North Dakota, to set up a milling plant. The proposed building site is located just 20 minutes from the Grand Forks Air Force Base, raising national security concerns. The base is home of a new space networking center, which a North Dakota senator said handles “the backbone of all U.S. military communications across the globe.”
By the start of 2020, Chinese owners controlled about 192,000 agricultural acres in the U.S., worth $1.9 billion, including land used for farming, ranching and forestry, according to the Agriculture Department.
“Chinese investments in American farmland put our food security at risk and provide opportunities for Chinese espionage against our military bases and critical infrastructure. Instead of allowing these purchases, the U.S. government must bar the Communist Party from purchasing our land,” Senator Cotton said of the proposed bill.
“Chinese investors’ holdings of U.S. agricultural land surged from 13,720 acres in 2010 to 352,140 acres in 2020,” he continued.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) introduced a similar bill in the House last summer. The bill, which is titled the same as the Senate version, would completely stop CCP members from buying either public or private land in the U.S.
The House bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation last August, but has not yet been voted on.