Ever since the Commerce Department announced that it would add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has maintained that he approved the question in response to a request from the Justice Department.
Ross even testified in front of Congress that he added the question in response to the Justice Department's request, but we knew that was a lie because before Ross confirmed it was a lie.
The multi-state, coalition lawsuit to block the citizenship question led by the New York attorney general's office has revealed that Ross added the question after discussing it with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
"Secretary Ross recalls that [Steve] Bannon called Secretary Ross in the Spring of 2017 to ask Secretary Ross if he would be willing to speak to then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach about Secretary Kobach's ideas about a possible citizenship question on the decennial census," the attorneys write.
In a July 2017 email to Ross, Kobach — the current Republican candidate for Kansas governor — proposed wording for a citizenship question that would ask the immigration status of noncitizens. Kobach wrote that he was concerned that "aliens who do not actually 'reside' in the United States are still counted" in the census numbers used to determine how many seats in Congress each state gets after each once-a-decade head count.
The racist intent of adding a citizenship question is right there in government emails. And Ross lied about it under oath.
It's worth noting that even if Ross had told the truth (which he didn't), his stated basis for adding the citizenship question was absurd in its own right. Ross claimed the Justice Department requested that he add the question so the department could properly enforce the Voting Rights Act. There aren't many people who could even say that with a straight face.
It's clear that the intent was to reduce the electoral power of any state that may be home to a significant number of immigrants.