A group of Black farmers filed a class-action lawsuit seeking $5 billion from the federal government.
The group says the government illegally broke a promise to pay off their debts.
President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package included congressional aid for disadvantaged farmers; however white farmers challenged it on the grounds of racial injustice, the suit claims.
Black farmers have lost upwards of $326 billion in farmland over the decades, 2022 concluded.
"We're quietly, one by one, losing our farms. Many Black farmers were even deterred from applying for assistance at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I personally had my loan torn up and tossed in the trash can, right in front of me. I've been spat on by the person who's supposed to be lending me money and I've been called racial epithets. It was commonplace from the lending officer at USDA," John Boyd Jr., president of the Black Farmers Association, told NewsNation's "Rush Hour" on Thursday.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller opposed President Biden's American Rescue Plan that would give $ 5 billion to Black farmers, saying it violated their rights, and he called it reverse discrimination.
"It was racist. It was based on skin color - not on need or being economically disadvantaged. Look, I'm for minority farmers getting help, but this gave help whether they needed it or not, and it excluded all the other races, which is just plain racist," Miller said.
"Look at the history of the USDA debt relief offered to white farmers. Look at what the Trump administration offered (in) subsidies and direct debt relief and administration of money to white farmers in the last four years ... less than 1% went to Black farmers. Now, is that not racism? Why is it only when Black people are going to get benefits from the government do we call it racism?" civil rights Attorney Ben Crump told "Rush Hour" on Thursday.
Crump accuses the government of breaking a binding contract that would have aided 16,000 farmers of color with $4 billion in debt relief, which was money intended to clear 100% of the debt with the USDA and an additional 20% to pay off the taxes owed, PBS.org reported.
Sadly, the money was never sent: "we hope to bind the federal government to their promise that was made contractually with the Black farmers. We hope to make up for 40 acres and a mule that were denied to Black farmers and Black soldiers and Black people over 150 years ago," Crump said.
The lawsuit remains pending in the U.S. Court of federal claims.
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