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ANALYSIS: A Former Trump Official Is Suing The Biden Administration On Behalf Of White Farmers

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Former President Donald Trump aide Stephen Miller and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are suing President Joe Biden’s administration over alleged discrimination against white farmers.

America First Legal is suing the Biden administration over provisions in the American Rescue Plan that aims to channel around $5 billion government funds to “socially disadvantaged” farmers, The Washington Post reported. The lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller as a private citizen, claims “the Department of Agriculture interprets this phrase to include African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders…but white farmers and ranchers are not included within the definition of ‘socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,’ making them ineligible for aid under these federal programs.”

The American Rescue Plan says the U.S. Agriculture Department secretary “shall provide a payment in an amount up to 120 percent of the outstanding indebtedness of each socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher as of January 1, 2021, to pay off the loan directly or to the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher (or a combination of both), on each… direct farm loan made by the Secretary to the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher; and…  farm loan guaranteed by the Secretary the borrower of which is the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher,” among other provisions to provide socially disadvantaged farmers financial benefits.

Biden’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose nomination previously disappointed progressive activists, has defended the program, the Post reported. “For generations, socially disadvantaged farmers have struggled to fully succeed due to systemic discrimination and a cycle of debt.”

“On top of the economic pain caused by the pandemic, farmers from socially disadvantaged communities are dealing with a disproportionate share of Covid-19 infection rates, hospitalizations, death and economic hurt,” Vilsack added. The Washington Post reported that Agriculture Department statistics show that of the country’s 3.4 million farmers, about 45,000 are black.

This means that while the number of black farmers has decreased by 1 million over the last 100 years, as the Washington Post noted, black farmers make up around 13% of the total population of farmers in the United States — about on par with the black percentage of the total U.S. population. (RELATED: The Next Target Of Democrats’ Wokeism: American Farmers)

The definition of “socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” in The American Rescue Plan is tied to the definition established by “section 2501(a) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279(a)).” In 7 U.S. Code § 2279, “socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” is defined as “a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group,” which is “a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.”

As the lawsuit alleges, Department of Agriculture materials show that the agency has interpreted such provisions along racial lines.

“Identified socially disadvantaged groups include… Blacks or African Americans… American Indians or Alaska Natives… Hispanics… Asians… Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders,” a fact sheet distributed by the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service says.

“These racial exclusions are patently unconstitutional,” America First Legal argues in the lawsuit. If the court does not buy the argument that Biden’s program is in violation of the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as provisions in the U.S. Constitution, “then it should at the very least declare that the phrase ‘socially disadvantaged group’ must be construed, as a matter of statutory interpretation, to include ethnic groups of all types that have been subjected to racial and ethnic prejudice, including (but not limited to) Irish, Italians, Germans, Jews, and eastern Europeans,” the lawsuit adds.

Throughout the 19th century, Irish immigrants to the United States were discriminated against in employment. Some advertisements in newspapers for employment opportunities read “No Irish Need Apply,” according to History. Italians immigrating to the United States were met with a high level of anti-Catholic sentiment. One of the largest mass lynchings in U.S. History was in New Orleans in 1891 when 11 Italians were lynched by a mob, History noted. Germans and Jews were also discriminated against in United States history, as well.

“We hold fast to the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr. that Americans ‘should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’” Miller said in a statement released Wednesday about the proposed class action lawsuit. Miller added that, through the lawsuit, America First Legal “will defend MLK’s vision, our Constitutional order, and the civil rights of all citizens” from “the radical activist left.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a statement to NBC News saying, “We are reviewing the complaint and working with the Department of Justice. During this review, we will continue to implement the debt relief to qualified socially disadvantaged borrowers under the American Rescue Plan Act.”

Other America First Legal action taken against the Biden administration include going after Biden’s immigration policies. Trump has signaled support for Miller and Meadows’ attempt to “turn the tables” on Democrats in court, saying the “era of unilateral legal surrender must end,” according to NBC News.