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U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., recently discussed foreign entities buying U.S. land in an interview with Homeland Newswire.
He introduced the Protecting Our Land Act to "prohibit any foreign person who is a foreign adversary, a state sponsor of terrorism, anyone controlled or owed or affiliated by them, any agent or instrumentalities of a foreign adversary to purchase public or private real estate" in the U.S., according to an Aug. 4 news release. The bill focuses on requiring the President to order federal agencies to promulgate rules and regulations that will prevent both foreign adversaries and state sponsors of terrorism from purchasing U.S. real estate.
"Nefarious foreign acquisition of our U.S. land jeopardizes everything from our national security to our food security," Steube said. "Why in the world would we want China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and other adversarial countries to purchase thousands of acres in strategic U.S. locations? I am introducing commonsense legislation to block these individuals from land purchases. My bill will curb malicious foreign activities on American soil and make America safer."
A fact sheet released by the America First Policy Institute revealed 14 U.S. states have already enacted laws effectively prohibiting the ownership of agricultural land by the Chinese government, with another three having introduced legislation that has yet to be signed into law. The fact sheet also referred to a USDA report stating that, while Chinese investors owned 13,720 acres of U.S. land in 2010, they owned 352,140 acres in 2020, marking a yearly increase of more than 33,000 acres per year.
The report notes U.S. land is a strategic national asset that gives the country food security and independence. It also noted China's Belt and Road Initiative focuses on securing and dominating world food supply chains, as well as on hoarding computer chips, minerals, and other sensitive items.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, a report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission highlighted concern regarding the potential future location of China-based Fufeng Group's corn-milling plant being in close proximity to the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Agweek reports Fufeng Group has a history of odor and air pollution violations in its home country.
“if proximal access were given to our adversaries, and their collections were directed at us, it would present a costly national security risk causing grave damage to (the) United States’ strategic advantages,” Air Force Major Jeremy Fox said, according to Grand Forks Air Herald.
The Commission's report also stated the plant's close distance to the base qualifies it for review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, Grand Forks Herald reported.
Steube graduated from the University of Florida with both an undergraduate and a law degree, according to his website. Following his graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for four years as both an Airborne Infantry Officer and a JAG Corps Officer. He currently serves as a U.S. Representative for Florida's 17th Congressional District, and he sits on both the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.