About $4 billion in federal stimulus money designated to forgive loans for Black and minority farmers remains in limbo because white farmers claim that this loan forgiveness program is unconstitutional and discriminatory against them.
The Washington Post reports that a lawsuit was filed by a conservative group on behalf of these white farmers, and on Thursday, a Wisconsin federal judge agreed with the plaintiffs and issued a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Rick Esenberg, president and general council of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, said this to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“The Court recognized that the federal government’s plan to condition and allocate benefits on the basis of race raises grave constitutional concerns and threatens our clients with irreparable harm... The Biden administration is radically undermining bedrock principles of equality under the law.”
Let’s talk about equality real quick. According to the Journal Sentinel, USDA officials said Black, American Indian or Alaskan native, Hispanic and Asian American or Pacific Islander farmers often face systemic discrimination, which leads to negative consequences like a a reduced amount of farmland that they control and an ongoing cycle of debt.
This, like many other things, was not helped by the economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on just about everything in this county—which, as we know, disproportionately harmed minority communities when it comes to infection rates, hospitalizations and property loss, among other things.
The federal loan forgiveness program, which was created under the American Rescue Plan Act, aimed to help rectify some of these disadvantages that minority farmers face by forgiving these loans and easing financial burdens.
In other words, it would put these farmers on a more even level in an industry that the Journal Sentinel says has already been rocked with “a substantial loss in the number of socially disadvantaged producers.”
Which, unless I’m gravely mistaken, isn’t that what equality would look like?
In response to the restraining order, the USDA provided a statement to the Journal Sentinel:
“We respectfully disagree with this temporary order and USDA will continue to forcefully defend our ability to carry out this act of Congress and deliver debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers,” said a USDA spokesperson. “When the temporary order is lifted, USDA will be prepared to provide the debt relief authorized by Congress.”
This isn’t the first time that white folks have complained about the USDA’s debt relief program.
According to the Post, former Trump adviser and world’s oldest 35-year-old Stephen Miller formed a commission to sue on behalf of a white farmer who also believed that the program was discriminatory toward white farmers. In part, the Post reports, the lawsuit claimed that “disrupts our common progress toward becoming a more perfect union.”
Stephen Miller is the same dude that got busted for participating in white nationalist websites and has been cited as the architect of the Orange One’s vehement anti-immigration policies and attitudes.
If he claims to be on the right side of any issue, then I guess I’m cool with being wrong.