Washington, DC – Myriam Sabbaghi, Organizing Director for the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division, ruling against plaintiffs challenging the state of Florida’s recently-passed “alien land law” SB 264:
“We are deeply disturbed by this initial court finding ruling against a motion to block implementation of the discriminatory Florida law SB 264, which bars certain property ownership on the basis of national heritage. The fact that this ruling from Judge Winsor relies heavily on a century-old legal decision upholding alien land laws, when the U.S. has long since moved passed such blatant discrimination, is a telling linkage and a reminder of all the work that needs to happen to safeguard our rights and root out racism root and vine. This is yet another instance where a discriminatory law risks denying the Iranian-American community, and many other immigrant communities, their basic rights and creating a slippery slope to more harsh discrimination. We urge that the plaintiffs keep up the fight and appeal the court’s decision.
“Regrettably, we know that the courts alone cannot safeguard our rights. Just like the Supreme Court upheld the Muslim ban, prompting our community to continue to organize to defeat it politically, so too should this ruling urge immigrant communities to also come together and win politically – as we have done in Texas and several other states thus far, and as we will need to do at the federal level. Together, our civil rights and democracy will be protected – but not if we excuse injustice and accept discriminatory laws.”
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