House Dems ask Ross to address 'glaring contradictions' in rationale for citizenship question

House Dems ask Ross to address 'glaring contradictions' in rationale for citizenship question
© Anna Moneymaker

Fifty-six House Democrats on Monday signed a letter demanding Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossWaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Recession fears surge as stock markets plunge The Hill's Morning Report - Trump moves green cards, citizenship away from poor, low-skilled MORE address what they call “glaring contradictions” in his rationale for adding a controversial citizenship question to the census.

Ross originally said he added the question, which will ask census-takers to list their citizenship, at the request of the Justice Department. But Ross filed a memo last month revealing the question’s inclusion was his idea, according to a Washington Post report.

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The letter by House Democrats, led by Reps. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Lawmakers call for 'time out' on facial recognition tech Amazon shareholders vote down limits on facial recognition software MORE (D-Calif.), Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyReport: Americans unprepared for retirement Senate approves fund to provide compensation for Sept. 11 victims Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-N.Y.) and Judy ChuJudy May ChuUS must stay true to its values and fight the public charge rule Pelosi predicts Trump public charge rule will be 'swiftly challenged and defeated' House passes bill to update tax code to help same-sex married couples MORE (D-Calif.), demands that Ross explain why he originally told Congress the Justice Department “initiated the request” during congressional testimony when his comments in the recent memo suggest that is untrue. 

“We remain deeply concerned that a citizenship question will lead to an inaccurate count and have detrimental consequences for our country,” the letter states. “With so much at stake, we must be able to obtain truthful information from the Commerce Department about how this decision was made.”

The letter asks Ross to answer four questions about who proposed the citizenship question and when they did so.

Because the census determines federal funding and congressional redistricting, several advocacy organizations have stated undercounting noncitizens could result in discrimination of these populations.  

A group of 21 immigrant rights advocacy organizations in May filed a lawsuit challenging the citizenship question to the 2020 census.

“This newly released document reveals that the Commerce Department pressed the Justice Department to ask for the citizenship question to be added to the census — not the other way around,” Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCan the Democrats unseat Trump? Democrats slam alleged politicization of Trump State Department after IG report Senior Trump officials accused of harassing, retaliating against career State Dept. employees MORE (D-Md.) said in a statement after the memo was released.

“This document ... it raises grave questions about whether Secretary Ross and other Commerce Department officials misled Congress when they concealed this fact and testified repeatedly that they were merely responding to the Justice Department’s request,” Cummings said in his statement.

A Commerce Department spokesman said the memo was filed “in the interest of transparency and expeditious resolution of frivolous litigation,” The Washington Post reported.