Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller alleges aid to farmers of color discriminates against white farmers in suit against Biden administration

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Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at The Texas Tribune Festival in 2019. Credit: Juan Figueroa for The Texas Tribune

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Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is suing the federal government claiming that the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief plan passed last month discriminates against white farmers and ranchers.

Miller, a conservative Republican and rancher, states in the lawsuit filed Monday in Fort Worth federal court that he is suing in his capacity as a private citizen — not on behalf of the state.

Among several other major provisions, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 offers relief to “socially disadvantaged” farmers and ranchers, which the plan defines as people of color. Miller’s complaint against the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the definition in the program fails to include “white ethnic groups that have unquestionably suffered” because of their ethnicity, such as those of Irish, Italian, German, Jewish and eastern European heritage.

Attorneys are seeking class-action status for the suit on behalf of white farmers and ranchers.

The lawsuit is sponsored by America First Legal — a group founded by Stephen Miller, Donald Trump’s former senior adviser, along with other Trump officials to be a conservative response to the ACLU.

“America First Legal opposes discrimination in all forms," AFL President Stephen Miller said in a statement.