BREAKING: DOJ Reveals Bannon Behind Census Citizenship Question

October 11th, 2018

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.


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


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


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

Emerald Island Immigration Center

Engage New York

Fiscal Policy Institute



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


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


Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson


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.


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