For the past four years, White House adviser Stephen Miller used his station to wage a devastatingly effective war on federal policies protecting immigrants in the United States. Now, a legal group he co-founded is suing the federal government of racial bias in a program providing stimulus money to the descendants of immigrants — from Ireland, Italy, and Germany.
On Tuesday, America First Legal — founded by Miller and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, among others — filed a class-action suit in federal court in Fort Worth to challenge a program funded by the American Rescue Plan to provide aid to “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.”
The lawsuit, filed on the behalf of lead plaintiff Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, attests that the program is “actively and invidiously discriminating against American citizens solely based upon their race.” Around half of the $10.4 billion in agricultural funding earmarked in the American Rescue Plan would go to relief for farmers of color, which is the most significant legislation for Black farmers since the Civil Rights Act, according to experts who spoke with the Washington Post.
“The Department of Agriculture interprets this phrase to include African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders,” the lawsuit reads. “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.” Miller, whose rampant xenophobia has been tinged with a trollish streak since high school, also cited Martin Luther King Jr. in a statement announcing the lawsuit, saying that American farmers requesting aid “should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’” In classic archconservative tradition, he also besmirched the legacy of the civil-rights champion to fit his own means, describing “MLK’s vision” as one “in which all citizens are equal both in front of the law and in the eyes of their Creator.” (It’s unlikely that the humanitarian who wrote of an “inescapable network of mutuality” on Earth would limit his vision of equality to those who qualify for American citizenship.)
The lawsuit announced on Tuesday was the second such action from Miller’s new group filed in the past week in the northern district of Texas, where its efforts fall on the reliable ears of conservative Trump and Bush appointees. The judge assigned to the farming lawsuit is Reed O’Conner, who has ruled to gut Obamacare, ruled against family leave for LGBT couples, and blocked guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathrooms aligning with their gender identity. On April 22, America First Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s pandemic-related decision to deport all asylum seekers, except for children arriving alone at the border. Such a rule was not strict enough for the architect of Trump’s immigration policy, whose group is pushing to send asylum seekers of all ages back into Mexico.