Before Rep. Devin Nunes became President Donald Trump’s congressional battering ram, he was a reliable conservative whose family dairy farm gave him an appealing story to tell voters: “I’m pretty simple. I like agriculture,” he told The Daily Beast last year.
But what Nunes, a California Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, hasn’t told his constituents is that more than a decade ago, his family farm moved to Sibley, Iowa, where many farmers — including, allegedly, the Nuneses — rely on the labor of undocumented immigrants.
The existence of Nunes family’s Iowa farm was first reported Sunday by Esquire magazine and confirmed by government records and media reports reviewed by the American Ledger.
Nunes’ parents, Anthony Nunes Jr. and Toni Dian Nunes, sold their farm in California in 2006 and purchased a 32-acre property in Sibley, Iowa, in January 2007 for $1.6 million, according to records from the Osceola County property assessor.
The farm is run by Devin Nunes’ parents as well as his brother and sister-in-law, according to a 2009 profile in the Dairy Star. The Esquire reporter, Ryan Lizza, wrote that while he was in Iowa interviewing people for his story about the Nunes farm, the Dairy Star suddenly pulled down its article, but it was independently reviewed by the Ledger before it was.
The farm sits in the district of one of — if not the — most anti-immigrant members of Congress, Steve King, a Republican who said last year, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
He also said on MSNBC in 2016 that no “subgroup of people” had done more for “civilization” than white people.
Iowa, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, is home to 40,000 undocumented immigrants, Lizza reported that many farms in Osceola County depend on undocumented workers, as farmers contend with a tight labor pool and thin profit margins.
A source told Lizza he had sent undocumented workers to the Nunes farm for jobs.
“I’ve been there and bring illegal people,” the source said. “People come here and ask for work, so I send them over there.”
Nunes’ uncle Gerald Nunes still owns a farm in California, but none of his immediate family is still there.
He apparently didn’t disclose that to conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley A. Strassel, who wrote a profile of him in July.
The column, datelined in Nunes’ hometown of Tulare, Calif., began, “It’s 105 degrees as I stand with Rep. Devin Nunes on his family’s dairy farm.”