Repeal of ‘alien land' law goes on ballot

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Voters will get a chance in November to remove a provision in the state Constitution that was intended to prohibit illegal immigrants from owning land.

In a 36-1 vote on Monday, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission backed a proposal (Proposal 6006) that would eliminate a provision that became part of the Constitution in 1926 and was aimed at blocking Asian farmers from owning or leasing land in the state.

The so-called “alien land” provision was never enforced, and critics have declared it a vestige of the state’s discriminatory past.

However, voters rejected a similar amendment seeking to remove the language in 2008.

The provision is part of a proposed constitutional amendment that contains two other measures, including eliminating obsolete language authorizing a high-speed rail system.

Another provision would clarify that if a criminal statute is repealed it would not impact the prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal.

The proposed constitutional amendment will appear as Amendment No. 11 on the Nov. 6 ballot and must win support from at least 60 percent of the voters to be enacted.