Rep. Elijah Cummings, who has long sought to learn how the Trump administration came to develop a census question asking people their citizenship status, said Tuesday that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will testify before the Baltimore Democrat’s Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Cummings’ committee said the hearing would be held March 14. But a Commerce Department spokeswoman said in an email that the department “is working with Chairman Cummings and Ranking Member (Jim) Jordan to determine a mutually agreeable date for the secretary to appear before the committee.”
But, following several weeks of discussions, Ross agreed to testify before the committee “voluntarily and without a subpoena,” Cummings said Tuesday in a prepared statement.
“Committee members expect Secretary Ross to provide complete and truthful answers to a wide range of questions, including questions regarding the ongoing preparations for the census, the addition of a citizenship question, and other topics.”
Frustrated congressional Democrats accused the Trump administration Friday of politicizing the 2020 census after a Justice Department official declined to answer questions on how the administration came to include a census question asking people about their citizenship status.
“The committee also expects full compliance with all of our outstanding document requests prior to the hearing,” Cummings said.
Last April, Frosh joined 17 of his counterparts across the country in suing the Trump administration over the citizenship question, which critics say would drive down immigrant participation and lead to an undercount of states’ populations.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joins other attorneys general, six cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors filing suit to block the Trump administration over a proposed 2020 Census question about citizenship.
Frosh, a Democrat, said at the time that both documented and undocumented immigrants might not fill out a census form sent to their address that asks about citizenship for fear the information would be used against them.