According to reports, Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) is actively requesting that the Justice Department investigate Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for lying to Congress during a hearing about the 2020 U.S. census.
Rep. Meng’s request comes after newly released emails through a court order revealed that former White House Senior Advisor Steve Bannon had requested that Ross include a question about citizenship status on the census form.
This revelation comes after Ross, while responding to a question from Rep. Meng, testified before a House panel in March that it was the department that initiated the request for inclusion of the citizenship question.
As a result, the Congresswoman is not too pleased.
“I’m upset,” Meng said in an interview with CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield. “He lied to my face and made multiple statements about the request being originated from the Justice Department about the Voting Rights Act. It is clear now that this was a political move as we have seen multiple pieces of evidence and he lied to my face when I asked him about that question.”
She also shared her displeasure on Twitter:
Hate being lied to! Very displeased to learn that @SecretaryRoss lied to me on the origins of adding a citizenship question to the #2020Census at a hearing this spring. Not a tough question, but I guess when you’re in company with Steven Bannon, you’ve got to cover it up? https://t.co/D8IHUL6pbf
— Grace Meng (@RepGraceMeng) October 11, 2018
However, considering Democrats seem to believe that members of the Justice Department were part of the conspiracy by the Trump administration to add the question to the census, Meng’s request for the Justice Department to be the investigating agency complicates things.
Especially since Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the head of the department, has been accused of perjury during his own confirmation hearings regarding his meetings with Russian diplomats despite having testified that he had no contacts with Russians during the Trump campaign.
Regardless, considering the recent immigration changes, and with midterm elections just around the corner, it’s no wonder the latest revelation is drawing so much attention. For Rep. Meng, the Democrats, and immigrants, the inclusion of a citizenship question on the census form raises a concern that the census could be used by ICE to conduct deportation raids. It also raises a concern that people could refuse to fill out the census form altogether out of fear that they will become targets of the government.