A federal court is investigating whether President Joe Biden unfairly favored federal relief applicants belonging to another race.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin temporarily stopped nearly $4 billion in debt relief funding the Joe Biden administration had allocated for farmers of color.
U.S. District Judge William Griesbach from Milwaukee handed down a temporary restraining order that effectively prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from making contentious payments until the matter is settled through the judicial system.
“[The] only consideration in determining whether a farmer or rancher’s loans should be completely forgiven is the person’s race or national origin,” Griesbach said according to the New York Post. “Plaintiffs are completely excluded from participation in the program based on their race.”
The judge believes there are reasonable grounds for the plaintiffs to argue the money should be available to white-run agribusinesses too.
“The obvious response to a government agency that claims it continues to discriminate against farmers because of their race or national origin is to direct it to stop: it is not to direct it to intentionally discriminate against others on the basis of their race and national origin,” he said according to the paper.
The BL understands President Biden promised non-white farmers the funds through his American Rescue Plan without considering the financial circumstances of each applicant. USDA has not previously committed “intentional discrimination” in agricultural subsidies or pandemic relief work either.
The Democrat pledged to pay up to 120 percent of loans for black, Hispanic, Latino, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian American, and Pacific Islander farmers and ranchers back in March.
The $3.8 billion programs quickly attracted legal action from 12 white farmers and ranchers who claim they were denied participation based on race.
The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the lawsuit in April, claiming white farmers’ constitutional rights were infringed because they are ineligible for the program.
“Because plaintiffs are ineligible to even apply for the program solely due to their race, they have been denied the equal protection of the law and therefore suffered harm,” court documents obtained by CBS News said.
“Were plaintiffs eligible for the loan forgiveness benefit, they would have the opportunity to make additional investments in their property, expand their farms, purchase equipment and supplies and otherwise support their families and local communities,” the documents added.
Plaintiff Adam Faust, a Wisconsin farmer with spina bifida and two prosthetic legs, believes there is no room for racial discrimination, especially if it is directed to white people.
“It was just out and out racist, and I really do not think that there should be racism allowed in the federal government at any level,” he said according to WLUK-TV.
The other 11 plaintiffs live in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wisconsin according to the Daily Mail.
USDA vowed to vigorously defend the allegations and continue operating the loan relief program.
“We respectfully disagree with this temporary order, and USDA will continue to forcefully defend our ability to carry out this act of [U.S.] Congress and deliver debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers,” a department representative told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When the temporary order is lifted, USDA will be prepared to provide the debt relief authorized by Congress.”