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 RossBipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline NOAA hurricane forecast predicts record number of storms in 2020 33K laptops meant for Alabama distance learning are stuck in customs, could be held until October 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.


The letter by House Democrats, led by Reps. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Census director says he learned of Trump citizenship move 'when it was posted on the web' Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs MORE (D-Calif.), Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyEngel: IG report shows Pompeo's 'sham' use of emergency declaration in arms sales State says it will be cleared by watchdog report OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump advancements on Pebble Mine | Interior finalizes public lands HQ move out West over congressional objections | EPA to issue methane rollback: report MORE (D-N.Y.) and Judy ChuJudy May ChuLawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks Geraldo Rivera to Trump: Asian friends of mine say 'China virus' has 'racial overtone' Ocasio-Cortez, Democrats blast GOP on House floor for 'culture' of sexism 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 CummingsBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden comes to Washington to honor John Lewis Lawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis 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.