HOUSTON — Dozens of Houston city leaders and community members gathered at City Hall Monday in protest of Senate Bill 147.
This proposed new legislation would ban governments, businesses, and citizens of China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from buying real estate in Texas.
"I don’t care who you are, Republican, Democrat, where you come from. This is just a bad bill. I don’t care how they dress it up, it's still a bad bill," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner after attending the protest.
"I am joined by a group that looks like Houston and looks like Texas and represents virtually every religious group every community this is our fight," said state representative Gene Wu, who also attended the protest.
It would affect people like Niloufar Hafzi who was born in the U.S. but also has citizenship in Iran.
"I shouldn’t have to choose between being able to visit my family and having that citizenship and being able to have property rights here," said Hafzi.
Many are worried this bill would bring along more racism.
"For anyone that may look like they come from these countries, they're walking around with a target on their head," Turner said. "That's not the America that we want. It feeds racism and discrimination."
The effect on the economy is also a concern.
"China is a major trading partner with the City of Houston and the state of Texas," Turner said. "We are constantly saying to those companies Texas is open for business."
That is why this rally in Houston hopes to send a message to state officials that these Houston leaders will not stand for this bill.
"What I would say to the Senator Kolkhorst and the governor is if you keep saying Texas is open for business, why are you putting a close sign on the door?" Turner said.
A Republican senator out of New Braunfels introduced another bill Monday that would ban citizens and companies from purchasing or leasing agricultural land within the state of Texas.