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Expert: Florida Law Unconstitutional

March 27, 2024 (1 min read)

Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar. 27, 2024

"A pair of doctoral students and a professor are suing to block a new Florida law that restricts public colleges in the state from hiring graduate assistants or visiting scholars from “countries of concern,” including China, Iran, and Russia. The students, who attend Florida International University, said the law jeopardizes their academic careers, while the professor, who teaches at the University of Florida, said he can no longer recruit the most talented research assistants, which slows his work. The foreign-influence law, passed last year, limits research and academic exchanges with seven countries, which also include Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela. ... Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of law at Cornell University who specializes in immigration law, questioned SB 846’s legality. “The U.S. constitution provides due process and equal protection to everyone in the U.S., not just citizens,” he wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “This Florida law clearly violates those rights by barring certain international students and professors from conducting academic research.” Yale-Loehr noted that a federal appeals court recently blocked another Florida law — which banned Chinese citizens, including graduate students and professors, from buying property in the state — because it would violate federal law. “I am confident that a federal court will void this Florida law on the same grounds,” he said."