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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, approved adding a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census in March. Win McNamee/Getty Images.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, approved adding a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census in March. Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Wilbur Ross lied to incorporate citizenship question in census

A 2017 memorandum seems to show that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied under oath to Congress by claiming that it was the Justice Department that had…

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It has not yet been a year and the measure of the government to incorporate the question of citizenship in the census seems to already be a forgotten issue.

During March, the Department of Commerce announced that it would reincorporate the question of citizenship in the 2020 census for the first time in decades, which many have interpreted as "a weapon for vote suppression" and another strategy to persecute the immigrant community in the country.

However, not everyone remained idle at the government’s decision.

Barbara Underwood, the Attorney General of New York, began a legal procedure a few months ago to reverse the incorporation of the question, arguing that questioning citizenship "could be costly and would affect the count of the census."

But Underwood's latest discovery is even more serious.

According to a memorandum addressed to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and introduced in a lawsuit on Monday, the DOJ "initially opposed" the incorporation of the question of citizenship in the Census 2020, which undoubtedly contradicts Ross' testimony before Congress when he said that "the question had been incorporated for DOJ purposes," Talking Points Memo reported.

Given the finding, Underwood has requested that Ross be deposed as part of the lawsuit.

During his testimony, the Secretary of Commerce assured that the incorporation of the question "would help the DOJ to enforce the Voting Rights Law," but the evidence shows that the department "wanted to avoid monkeying around with the census because of the ‘whole Comey matter,’” Court House News reported.

The communication between Ross' deputy, Earl Comstock, and the DOJ demonstrate the department's reluctance to enter into new conflicts with the press, which would show that Ross could have lied under oath before Congress.

"This is astonishing, unprecedented conduct by a cabinet member," Underwood wrote in a 5-page letter. "It has consequences not for some minor or ministerial matter, but for the accuracy of the decennial census - which the secretary agrees will affect the 'foundational elements of our democracy.'"

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