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DOJ Reveals Bannon Behind Census Citizenship Question

Department of Justice admits conversations between Secretary of Commerce Ross and Steve Bannon in Census lawsuit discovery

New York, NY - This afternoon, the Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross spoke with Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, about the decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. In a new DOJ court filing in the lawsuit State of New York et al. v Department of Commerce, Secretary Ross suddenly “recalls” the conversation, after previously claiming he was “not aware” of any contact with the White House. Two days ago the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction, blocking the lower court-ordered depositions of Secretary Ross and DOJ official John Gore.

“Trump wants to distract us with Kanye West in the White House, while news leaks that his Commerce Secretary conspired with a white supremacist to rig the Census,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “It’s obvious that the administration hates immigrants and wants to deny big, blue states federal resources and political power by undercounting them in the Census. This is a perversion of the Constitution for partisan gain and a direct attack on anyone who doesn’t meet Steve Bannon’s warped approval.”

Steve Bannon, also the former Executive Chairman of right-wing publication Breitbart News and the executive producer of the film Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration, is widely known as a white supremacist and an anti-semite.

The New York Immigration Coalition filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in conjunction with the ACLU and four other immigrant rights groups against the administration’s attempt to target immigrant communities, challenging the addition of the citizenship question by adding an intentional discrimination claim. The lawsuit argues that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census violates the Constitution and reverses seven decades of precedent without a factual basis.

Background

On April 3rd, the New York Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit– New York v. Dept of Commerce– in the Southern District of New York to stop the Commerce Department from demanding citizenship information on the 2020 Census. The lawsuit argues that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census violates the law and reverses seven decades of precedent without a factual basis.

Currently 19 States plus D.C., a number of cities and counties, and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors have joined the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit. On May 25, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Judge Furman on July 3rd stated it was “unlikely he would dismiss the case in its entirety” and granted the AG’s office request for additional discovery, resulting in the federal government recently releasing new documents.

On June 6th, the New York Immigration Coalition filed a related federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in conjunction with the ACLU and four other immigrant rights groups. The suit challenges the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, by adding an intentional discrimination claim.

On July 26th, Judge Furman ruled against the Trump administration’s request to dismiss New York v. Department of Commerce, and will allow the lawsuit to move forward.

The New York Immigration Coalition, together with over eighty partners, has formed New York Counts 2020, a coalition to maximize participation in the census and therefore counter the expected impact of the citizenship question if added to the 2020 census. If included, a citizenship question will stoke unnecessary fear in immigrant communities and could result in a significant undercount, particularly already under-counted racial and ethnic minority groups. With immigrants constituting nearly 1 out of 4 New Yorkers, an undercount in the 2020 Census will have catastrophic consequences – costing all New Yorkers political power and billions of dollars in federal funding for key services.

The New York Counts 2020 coalition includes:

 

Academy of Medical and Public Health Services

 

ACCESS WNY

 

ADL and 67th Precinct Clergy Council

 

African Communities Together

 

African Services Committee

 

American Immigration Lawyers Association - New York Chapter

 

Arab American Association of New York

 

Asian American Federation

 

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

 

Association for Better New York

 

Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)

 

Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS)

 

Bronx Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc

 

Brooklyn Public Library

 

Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York

 

Catholic Migration Services

 

Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College

 

Charles B. Wang Community Health Center

 

CHHAYA CDC

 

Chinese-American Planning Council

 

Chinese Progressive Association

 

Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign

 

Cidadão Global

 

Citizens' Committee for Children of New York

 

Citizens Union Foundation

 

Common Cause NY

 

Community Legal Advocates of NY

 

Community Voices Heard

 

Cooper Square Committee N-NORC

 

Church Women United in New York State

 

Desis Rising Up and Moving

 

Digital Equity Laboratory, The New School

 

EducatedVoter.net

 

Emerald Island Immigration Center

 

Engage New York

 

Fiscal Policy Institute

 

Forestdale

 

FPWA

 

Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.

 

Goddard Riverside Community Center

 

Health and Welfare Council of Long Island

 

Human Services Council

 

Indivisible Nation BK

 

Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Inc.

 

Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness  and Housing

 

Japanese American Social Services, Inc.

 

Jewish Community Relations Council

 

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York

 

LatinoJustice PRLDEF

 

Literacy Assistance Center

 

LiUNA Local 78

 

LSA Family Health Service

 

Masa

 

MinKwon Center for Community Action

 

Mixteca Organization, Inc.

 

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

 

NAACP-New York Branch

 

NALEO Educational Fund

 

New America

 

New York Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

 

New York City Employment and Training Coalition

 

New York Housing Conference

 

New York Immigration Coalition

 

New York Legal Assistance Group

 

New York State Council on Children and Families

 

New York Portuguese American Leadership Conference

 

NMIC

 

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson

 

OCA-NY

 

Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow

 

Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts

 

Planned Parenthood of New York City

 

Pratt Center for Community Development

 

Russian Speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx, Inc.

 

SEIU32BJ

 

Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester

 

Sunnyside Community Services

 

SUNY Rockefeller Institute of Government

 

The Door - A Center for Alternatives

 

Tiny Panther Consulting

 

Treatment Action Group

 

Queens College, CUNY/Social Explorer

 

Queens Library

 

UJA-Federation of New York

 

United Neighborhood Houses

 

Vision Urbana, Inc.

 

Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County

 

Wayne Action for Racial Justice

 

Worker’s Center of Central New York

 

YMCA of Greater New York

 

Young Invincibles

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The New York Immigration Coalition aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all.  The NYIC promotes immigrants’ full civic participation, fosters their leadership, and provides a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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