A class action lawsuit was filed last Thursday against the Biden administration by a group of white farmers who say that a farm loan forgiveness program contained in the COVID relief bill makes them ineligible for the program because of their race.
The lawsuit contends that their ineligibility due to their race violates their constitutional rights, specifically equal protection under the law.
The suit was filed on behalf of the farmers by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty in a federal court in Green Bay.
The lawsuit from the farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ohio states,
“Were plaintiffs eligible for the loan forgiveness benefit, they would have the opportunity to make additional investments in their property, expand their farms, purchase equipment and supplies and otherwise support their families and local communities. Because plaintiffs are ineligible to even apply for the program solely due to their race, they have been denied the equal protection of the law and therefore suffered harm.”
The suit also seeks a court order prohibiting the USDA from allowing race to be a consideration for loans.
WATCH: Biden Agriculture Sec defends admin's current discrimination against white farmershttps://t.co/bEdU73DS5g
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 6, 2021
Assistance For Minority Farmers Only In The COVID Relief Bill
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The $1.9 trillion Coronavirus relief bill signed by Joe Biden on March 11, provides $4 billion in debt relief for “black, indigenous, Hispanic, and other farmers of color,” as Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack put it.
The USDA – meaning taxpayers – would be on the hook for 120% of the amount due on any loans made directly to minority farmers, the additional 20% covering related debt relief taxes.
Proponents of the provisions in the COVID bill say it will make up for decades of discrimination by the USDA against black farmers.
Wisconsin dairy farmer with two prosthetic legs sues Biden administration over ‘racist’ COVID relief plan that disqualifies him because he is white https://t.co/1qpGngSMnW
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 6, 2021
Suit Also Filed In Texas
It is not only midwestern farmers who are calling foul on the racially-charged portion of the Biden COVID relief bill.
In Texas, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller also filed suit against the government last week, saying the provisions not only discriminate against white farmers, but ranchers as well.
Miller, a rancher himself, filed his suit as a private citizen, and not on behalf of the state.
The Texas Tribune describes Miller’s complaint as the program failing to include “white ethnic groups that have unquestionably suffered” because of their ethnicity. Those groups being Irish, Italian, German, Jewish and eastern Europeans.
The Texas suit is being sponsored by America First Legal, a group founded by former Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller, along with other former Trump officials. In a statement on the case, Stephen Miller said, “America First Legal opposes discrimination in all forms.”
The lawsuit also says that targeting minority farmers as beneficiaries of the program and excluding white farmers and ranchers is unconstitutional.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller sued the Biden administration for their exclusion of white farmers in their #COVID19 relief package.
"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
— Dr. Jimmy Yam (@JimmyJoeYam) April 29, 2021
Democrats Will Push Forward With Relief Bill Provisions
Even though Joe Biden signed the bill into law, the racial provisions for farm loans didn’t go without criticism at the time.
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) stated, “This should be a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and I call on the Department of Justice to investigate it if it becomes law. … Federal aid dollars should be color-blind.”
Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin sounded a similar note, saying, “We are going to have loan forgiveness on farms based on ethnicity.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated that they are reviewing the lawsuit with the Department of justice but plan to continue to offer the loan forgiveness to farmers they deem “socially disadvantaged.”
“There should absolutely be no federal dollars going anywhere just based on race," Wisconsin dairy farmer Adam Faust, a double amputee, says.
— Tim Gradous (@tgradous) April 30, 2021
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