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Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller sues, claims American Rescue Plan discriminates against white farmers

The plan includes a program to assist "socially disadvantaged" farmers impacted by the pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture because he claims the American Rescue Plan discriminates against white ranchers or farmers.

The 2021 plan includes a program that aims to give aid to "socially disadvantaged" farmers or ranchers who have been hurt by the pandemic. These farmers are defined by the USDA as African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

"As a nation, we are devoted to the task of satisfying these sacred ideals and providing equal rights to citizens of all races, as the Constitution requires. Profound progress has been made, and extraordinary milestones reached, throughout our history, serving as an inspiration to humanity and the nations of the world," the lawsuit states. "Yet, today, the Department of Agriculture lurches America dangerously backward, reversing the clock on American progress, and violating our most sacred and revered principles by actively and invidiously discriminating against American citizens solely based upon their race. This is illegal, it is unconstitutional, it is wrong, and it must stop."

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The lawsuit is seeking class-action status on the behalf of all white farmers or ranchers excluded from the program.

"These racial exclusions are patently unconstitutional, and the Court should permanently enjoin their enforcement," the lawsuit states. "Doing so will promote equal rights under the law for all American citizens and promote efforts to stop racial discrimination, because '[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.'"

This isn't the only lawsuit Miller has filed in recent months. In March, he and powerbroker Steven Hotze sued Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate over the requirement of COVID-19 tests for people attending Senate hearings. A hearing for that suit is scheduled for May 4.

RELATED: Texas agriculture industry faces millions of dollars in losses

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