Sen. Reid calls for settling Pigford & other cases of USDA discrimination affecting minority farmers

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, April 23 – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced Friday that he is calling for fair legal settlements for African American, Native American and Hispanic farmers and Native American trust account holders:

“At the heart of many of the issues the American people count on their leaders to address are simple, shared principles: justice and fairness. These principles are the reason we reformed health care, the reason we are reforming Wall Street and the reason we will reform immigration,” giving a clear signal both that Congress will fund promised payments to minority farmers and will continue efforts to pass stalled immigration reform legislation.

“Not every injustice can fit on the front page – but that does not mean they are any less critical to confront,” Reid said. “I want everyone to know that I hope that the Senate will soon resolve several long-standing cases of discrimination against farmers from various minority groups, as well as the widespread mismanagement of Native American trust accounts.  Both of these have left too many Americans waiting for justice.”

Reid explained that he has “met with representatives of African-American farmers and Hispanic farmers from my home state, as well as Native Americans who hold what are called Individual Indian Money Accounts. Too many of these people were robbed of the resources they rightly deserve and were denied their fair share at opportunities. It simply was wrong.”

Referring to specific cases, Reid said that “The Senate should do its part this work period to approve two of these settlements – the Pigford 2 and Cobell settlements. Several agreements were reached earlier this year, but the Senate must act to fully resolve them. We should also resolve other long-standing discrimination cases at the Department of Agriculture. It’s often said that justice delayed is justice denied.  The time for delay has passed.  Now it’s time for us to close every last one of these cases, once and for all.”

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