Earlier this month, Stephen Miller, former senior advisor to President Donald Trump, launched a legal firm dedicated to throwing legal rocks at the Biden administration.
That firm, called America First Legal, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping the Biden administration from implementing certain programs under the USDA. Those programs, as we’ve covered, are designed to provide more access to land and capital for some farmers, especially Black farmers, who have been historically discriminated against by USDA policies.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, insists that these programs are racist and deprive certain farmers—white farmers—of some benefits. In an inflammatory press release, America First Legal quotes Martin Luther King, Jr.
The farmers who stand to benefit from the programs in the American Rescue Act targeted by this lawsuit are primarily Black farmers. The programs, totaling about $5 billion, were also attacked by Republican-written amendments in Congress, but they passed despite that. They include expanding access to land for disadvantaged farmers through grants and loans, financial support to agriculture-focused HBCUs, debt relief and a study of systemic racism at the USDA. As The Counter reports, systemic racism has a long history at the Department of Agriculture, and USDA policy has had a major role in hobbling Black agriculture.
This $5-billion figure, in fact, is far from the amount that USDA policies have cost Black farmers, who have lost around 90 percent of their land since 1910. Roughly 98 percent of American farmers today are white, much higher than the total percentage of the population that identifies as white.
The USDA told The Hill that it is reviewing the matter and that the policies will continue to be in effect during this review.